Journal De Bruxelles - England slow New Zealand momentum in second Test

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England slow New Zealand momentum in second Test
England slow New Zealand momentum in second Test / Photo: Paul ELLIS - AFP

England slow New Zealand momentum in second Test

England clawed their way back into the second Test against New Zealand with two wickets late in the opening session to leave the tourists on 108-2 at lunch at Trent Bridge on Friday.

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Under a cloudy Nottingham sky and with the strip showing a tinge of green, England captain Stokes opted to bowl after winning the toss.

But the pitch was flatter than Stokes might have expected and New Zealand took advantage of some wayward England bowling as Tom Latham and Will Young put on 84 for the first wicket.

Stokes dragged England back into it when he dismissed Young for 47 and moments later stand-in skipper Latham fell to James Anderson for 26.

Devon Conway (10) and Henry Nicholls (14) were unbeaten at the interval after a quick-scoring session.

Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum are looking to build on England's thrilling five-wicket win against the Test world champions in the first game of the three-match series.

That was a much-needed morale boost after the gloomy end of Joe Root's spell as Test skipper and Stokes had emphasised his desire for England to continue playing with the unfettered positivity they showed at Lord's.

Whatever words of encouragement Stokes delivered to his unchanged team in a motivational speech on the out-field before the first over initially failed to produce the desired effect.

In pursuit of a victory that would seal their first Test series victory since January 2021, England wanted a fast start from pace bowlers Anderson and Stuart Broad.

But the home side have not won a Test in Nottingham since 2015 and their hopes of ending that barren run could rest on how much they can extract from a lifeless pitch.

- Stokes strikes -

Latham admitted he would also have bowled first given the chance, but he might have reconsidered that verdict after just a few overs.

The batsman had taken over as skipper after Kane Williamson was ruled out following a positive Covid-19 test on Thursday.

Henry Nicholls came in for Williamson, Matt Henry replaced Ajaz Patel and Michael Bracewell deputised for Colin de Grandhomme, who suffered a tear in his right heel in the first Test.

With Broad and Anderson unable to get much movement from the pitch, the only threats to Latham in the early exchanges were self-inflicted as he survived two scares after some risky running between the wickets.

Latham responded to those escapes by crunching consecutive fours off Broad.

Young was starting to find his touch and he dispatched Matthew Potts to the rope twice in quick succession.

New Zealand reached 47-0 by the first drinks break and a Young boundary brought up the 50 partnership immediately after the resumption.

England's bowling was often too short and Young gleefully seized the chance to punch a loose delivery from Stokes to the boundary.

The highest opening stand in a Trent Bridge Test since 2005 prompted Stokes to turn to spinner Jack Leach -- fit after suffering a concussion at Lord's.

But it was Stokes who made the breakthrough as he induced a thick edge from Young and Zak Crawley stooped for a low catch at second slip.

After dominating the opening session, New Zealand ceded the momentum the following ball as Latham played a rash pull off Anderson and Potts sprawled to make a fine catch at mid-wicket.