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11-Jun-2022 02:54:00 GMT
Eng vs NZ - 2nd Test, Nottingham, day 1

Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell lead New Zealand recovery

New Zealand 318 for 4 (Mitchell 81*, Blundell 67*) vs England

Nottingham: England are already facing a fight to get back into the second Test after New Zealand took the initiative on day one at Trent Bridge.

Asked to bat on a dry pitch by England captain Ben Stokes, the tourists moved to 318-4 as Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell repeated their huge stand from the first Test at Lord's last week.

England recovered from a poor start with the ball to reduce the Black Caps to 169-4.

But Mitchell made 81 not out and Blundell is undefeated on 67 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 149.

Crucially, Mitchell survived a relatively straightforward chance to Joe Root at first slip when he had only three, while Blundell edged one through a static cordon late in the day.

England found themselves in danger at various points during the first Test, only to battle to a five-wicket win.

They will need similar resolve here, especially as they will bat last on a surface that could deteriorate.

Any criticism of Stokes' decision to field first comes with hindsight. At the time of the toss, the pitch had a green tinge and there was some cloud cover overhead. Tom Latham, leading New Zealand after Kane Williamson was ruled out with Covid-19, also wanted to bowl.

However, the dry nature of the surface has left England with two problems. Firstly, New Zealand have been given the opportunity to build a big total, and there is the real chance that any chase later in the match will come with the challenge of some uneven bounce.

On a blustery day in Nottingham, England's attack struggled for control - only James Anderson and Stokes can feel like they were near their best. Countless rejected requests for the umpires to change the ball gave away the hosts' frustration.

England also fell into old habits with the missed catches - four of them in total, all in the slips.

By the close they were left knowing that an inconsistent batting line-up will have the huge task of playing them back into this match.

Mitchell and Blundell's partnership of 195 almost gave New Zealand victory at Lord's. Here they have already done enough to give the Black Caps the chance to level the series.

Those before them wasted starts. Will Young with 47, Devon Conway (46), Latham (26) and Henry Nicholls (30) - replacing the injured Colin de Grandhomme - all got in and got out.

Mitchell played a number of reverse-sweeps off the spinners and one of his two sixes - a straight hit off Jack Leach - landed in a spectator's drink. Blundell excelled with drives and cuts through the off side.

Both were missed by Root, but whereas as Mitchell's edge off Stokes should have been taken, Blundell's flash at Leach on 47 was a difficult chance to the slip.

Then, with Stuart Broad using the second new ball, Blundell, on 63, edged between second slip Zak Crawley and third Jonny Bairstow, only for both to watch it go by.

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