New Zealand vs England: James Anderson and Jack Leach bowl tourists into commanding position on day two | Cricket News

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James Anderson and Jack Leach took three wickets apiece as England put themselves firmly in control of the second Test against New Zealand.

England resumed day two on 315-3 at Wellington’s Basin Reserve and lost Harry Brook for 186 early on, but Joe Root’s 14th Test score of 150-plus helped them push on before declaring on 435-8 late in the morning session.

Anderson then made some early inroads by claiming the wickets of both Devon Conway and Kane Williamson to leave the Black Caps reeling on 12-2 at lunch and took another in the afternoon along with three for Jack Leach as the hosts slumped to 96-6 at tea.

Stuart Broad then got in on the act after tea with a simple caught and bowled to dismiss Michael Bracewell, with New Zealand seven down and still 297 runs behind England’s first innings total and with the follow-on potentially looming when rain again brought about an early end to the day’s play.

Story of the day

All eyes were on whether or not England batter Brook would be able to go on and make his first double-century in any form of cricket, but he was only able to add two to his overnight total before being caught and bowled by Matt Henry in the third over of the day.

A brisk cameo of 27 from 28 balls by Ben Stokes followed, only for the captain to mistime a stroke and be caught by substitute fielder Scott Kuggeleijn at mid-on while trying another attacking shot off Neil Wagner, and he was soon joined back in the pavilion by Ben Foakes.

The wicketkeeper lasted just five balls before being dismissed in bizarre circumstances without troubling the scorer, slipping over and being stumped by the ever-alert Tom Blundell off Michael Bracewell’s bowling.

Joe Root of England gestures with his bat as he leaves the field on 153 not out as England declare on the second day of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Joe Root finished unbeaten on 153 as England declared late in the morning session

Off-spinner Bracewell then trapped Stuart Broad lbw for 14 just before the new ball became available to New Zealand and Henry secured his fourth wicket when Ollie Robinson (18) smacked him straight to Black Caps skipper Tim Southee after being dropped by Blundell the previous ball.

Root was imperious at the other end though, even breaking out the scoop shot on a couple of occasions, and eventually finished on 153 not out. His 10th four of his innings took the right-hander to that score and immediately brought about the declaration from Stokes.

Anderson, who returned to the top of the ICC’s bowling rankings on the back of his showing in the first Test, then struck twice before the lunch interval.

A smart review from Stokes after opener Conway was initially given not out showed the right-hander had got the slightest of edges through to Foakes, leaving him to depart for a duck, and that was followed by Williamson (four) edging the seamer to the wicketkeeper as well.

New Zealand vs England – day two score summary

England 435-8d from 87.1 overs: Brook (186 off 176 balls), Root (153 not out off 224); Henry (4-100).

New Zealand 138-7 from 42 overs: Latham (35 off 76 balls), Nicholls (30 off 38); Anderson (3-37), Leach (3-45).

Leach puts Black Caps in a spin

The Anderson-Foakes combination did for Will Young in the second over following the resumption of play as well, seeing him depart for two, but Henry Nicholls joining opener Tom Latham at the crease did lead to New Zealand starting to rebuild their innings.

However, it was spinner Leach who made the breakthrough in the 21st over as Latham was deemed by television umpire Aleem Dar to have got a slight touch of his glove on a ball which popped up to Root as he tried to reverse sweep, leading to him falling for 35.

There could be no debate about Nicholls’ dismissal for 30 four overs later though as he also attempted the reverse sweep off England’s left-armer and succumbed to a superb diving catch from close-in fielder Ollie Pope.

Then Pope was on hand to make a second fine catch on the last ball before tea as Daryl Mitchell (13) went forward to defend one from Leach and instead prodded it straight to the fielder.

Ollie Pope, left, of England celebrates after taking a close in catch to dismiss Daryl Mitchell, right, of New Zealand on the second day of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Ollie Pope celebrates after taking a close in catch to dismiss Daryl Mitchell

Black Caps skipper Southee (23 not out) decided to go on the offensive in the evening session and smacked two sixes, but the departure of Bracewell ensured the hosts would end the day on 138-7 when the rain curtailed the action for the second day in a row.

England ‘have to earn the right’ to enforce follow-on

England batter Joe Root, speaking to BT Sport…

“Before the new ball it felt like it was a really important time to try to capitalise. It felt like a calculated risk was to be a little bit more aggressive at the start and really push the game forward going into the new ball.

“We lost a couple of wickets, but still managed to keep scoring at a decent rate. It was trying to be unpredictable and make it difficult for the set fields to know what we were trying to do, but still keep that rate going at a canter, which meant we were in a position we wanted to be in when it came around to bowling.

“Naturally there will be people thinking about [enforcing the follow-on], but we’ve got to earn the right to do that and take those few wickets before making that decision…We’ve got to be smart in the morning and work out how best we can try to finish things off in this innings, and I’m sure Ben will have an idea of what he wants to do.”

Follow England’s second and final Test against New Zealand, at Basin Reserve in Wellington, across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, with coverage continuing from 9.30pm on Saturday night.

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