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England edges ahead on helter-skelter day

Anderson joins 400-club early, but New Zealand ends action-packed first day on 297 for 8

England edges ahead on helter-skelter day - Cricket News
James Anderson struck in his second over to remove Martin Guptill and claim his 400th Test wicket.
Picking up where the frenzied excitement of the first Test at Lord’s left off, New Zealand and England played out a thrilling first day at Headingley, which saw the visiting side fight back from a disastrous start to end the day at 297 for 8.
 
The second Test of the series had got off somewhat anticlimactically, early morning rain washing out the first session entirely on Friday (May 29). Play did eventually get underway at 1:30pm, with England winning the toss and choosing to make New Zealand bat in testing conditions.
 
Alastair Cook’s decision was vindicated almost immediately, James Anderson striking in just his second over, removing Martin Guptill without scoring and more significantly, picking up his 400th Test wicket in the process, Ian Bell taking a simple catch at second slip.
 
Guptill’s frustration would only have been exacerbated by the sudden arrival of more rain, which suspended play before another ball could be bowled, a recurring theme in a stop-start session of cricket.
 
However the brief delay did nothing to improve New Zealand’s fortunes, Kane Williamson lasting just two deliveries before getting a thin edge through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps to give Anderson his second wicket of the over and leave New Zealand in real trouble at 2 for 2.
 
New Zealand though, was not to be cowed and Tom Latham began a spirited counterattack, with six fours in his first 34 runs, and along with Ross Taylor, he put on 66 for the third wicket.
 
However as has been the way throughout this intriguing series, the momentum soon switched, as a misjudgement from Taylor saw him trapped lbw, shouldering arms to ball from Stuart Broad that smashed into his pads.
 
While the scoreboard read 68 for 3, it appeared nobody had told Brendon McCullum, because the New Zealand skipper promptly planted his first ball over extra cover for six. It set the tone for the rest of the session, which belonged to the visiting side, as McCullum, along with the steadfast Latham, attempted to wrestle the match back in their side’s favour, taking the score to 123 for 3 at tea.
 
With England’s bowlers lacking the penetration of earlier in the day and New Zealand scoring at around five runs an over, an ominous extended last session loomed for the home team.
 
However England soon had control of the game once more, McCullum’s relentlessly attacking instincts proving to be his undoing as he slapped the first ball after the interval straight to Mark Wood at mid-off, giving Ben Stokes his first wicket of the match.
 
Wood then produced the perfect delivery to see off BJ Watling, the ball moving past the batsman’s outside edge and clipping the top of offstump.
 
If Luke Ronchi, the new man in, felt any pressure coming in on Test match debut with the score at 144 for 5, he didn’t show it, as once again New Zealand went on the counterattack. 
 
Ronchi, also carrying the burden of being the first Luke to play Test cricket, batted in one-day mode, and before long, he had a maiden half-century, slog-sweeping Moeen Ali for six to bring up his 50 from just 37 deliveries.
 
New Zealand continued in the same fearless vein, taking the game to England as the pair brought up their hundred partnership for the sixth wicket. England might have felt it had somewhat squandered its excellent start to the game, but it wasn't helped by a couple of shelled chances - Latham dropped twice in two balls off one Ali over, and then again in the next over.
 
Eventually though Latham’s luck ran out, his excellent innings of 84 finally ending when he drove loosely at a Broad delivery and got a thick edge to Joe Root at slip.
 
Epitomising a helter-skelter day of cricket, Broad struck again in his next over, removing the dangerman Ronchi, who was out hooking the ball straight to fine leg, and suddenly handing the advantage back with the home side.
 
Before the close, England added the wicket of Tim Southee, caught in the deep hooking, leaving the match intriguingly poised – the spectators treated to a truncated but nonetheless thrilling day of Test match cricket.
 

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