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17-Feb-2023 14:24:00 GMT
NZ vs Eng - 1st Test, Bay Oval, day 2

New Zealand - England Test finely poised after Blundell ton

England 325 for 9 dec (Brook 89, Duckett 84, Wagner 4-82) and 79 for 2 (Pope 14*, Broad 6*) lead New Zealand 306 (Blundell 138, Conway 77, Robinson 4-54) by 98 runs

Mount Maunganui: England's first Test against New Zealand is fascinatingly poised after Tom Blundell's superb century kept the hosts afloat on day two in Mount Maunganui.

Responding to England's first-innings 325-9 declared, New Zealand found themselves 83-5 and 182-7, either side of Devon Conway being dismissed for 77.

But wicketkeeper Blundell battled to his fourth Test hundred to drag New Zealand to 306 all out, a deficit of only 19, despite Ollie Robinson bowling superbly to claim 4-54.

Even though England's second innings started under floodlights, openers Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley added 50 in just 52 balls.

Duckett fell for 25 and Crawley 28, the latter signalling the arrival of Stuart Broad as England's 'nighthawk' for the first time.

Comically, Broad got away with skying Scott Kuggeleijn from his second ball - Kuggeleijn and Blundell watched as the ball dropped between them - leaving England 79-2, leading by 98.

The day-night conditions and pink ball were criticised by Robinson and James Anderson in the run-up to this Test, yet there is no doubt the challenge of batting in the twilight is adding extra intrigue to a superb contest.

New Zealand should have been able to bat well early in the day in warm sunshine on a good pitch, but instead came close to imploding.

Blundell, though, was able to coax 124 runs out of the last three wickets. He added 53 with Kuggeleijn and 59 with Blair Tickner - last man Tickner's contribution to the 10th-wicket stand was just three.

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