Kane Williamson roared back to form on day two of the Lord’s Test, after a disappointing World Cup campaign, remaining unbeaten on 92 as New Zealand ended day two in ascendancy at 303 for 2 in reply to England’s 389. After the New Zealand bowlers had taken the last three England wickets rather quickly, the Kiwis’ top order responded with great flair. The opening pair of Martin Guptill and Tom Latham added148 for the opening wicket. Williamson then carried on the good work in the company of Ross Taylor, adding an unbeaten 155 for the third wicket.
By the end of the day’s play, New Zealand were only 86 runs behind the hosts. They had earlier claimed the last three England wickets for only 26 runs. The bowlers from the home side toiled all day long, as the New Zealand batsmen rarely gave them any chance. Having added 148, the openers Guptill and Latham fell within three balls of each other. Also Taylor could have been run-out early in his innings had Stuart Broad hit the stumps with flick after Williamson had left him stranded following a mix-up.
Take away that mix-up, and Williamson rarely did anything wrong on the day. While his shorter version fan has been patchy, it must be remembered that he had made 242 not out in his previous Test innings. He drove the bowlers with ease on a Lord’s pitch, getting increasingly better for batsmen. Williamson hit 12 fluent boundaries, and inched closer to yet another Test hundred as curtains came down on day two. At the other end, Taylor remained unbeaten on 47, having recovered from that early run-out scare, hitting five fours in the process.
Williamson and Taylor must be thankful to the opening partnership that Guptill and Latham put up. New Zealand have struggled for good opening stands in the past, and this was actually Guptill’s comeback Test, an opportunity he was given on the back of his record-breaking World Cup performance. Guptill made full use of the chance, easing his way to 70 with the help of seven fours and a six. Both the openers got reprieves. Guptill was caught at slip off a Mark Wood no-ball on 25, and Latham was dropped on 21 by Ian Bell, again at slip.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that England let a great opportunity slip after the first-day comeback. Moeen Ali crossed his 50 resuming his overnight knock, but was knocked over by Trent Boult not much later. The tail also failed to put up much resistance. New Zealand had seized the initiative and, unlike England, did not give it back.
--By A Cricket Correspondent