Mitchell and Blundell thwart England to put New Zealand in control

By Sports Desk June 03, 2022

Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell combined to put New Zealand in the ascendancy at 236-4 at stumps on day two of the first Test, leading England by 227 runs.

England added just 25 to their overnight score as they were dismissed for 141, a lead of nine, as both teams were bowled at Lord's in a Test match first innings for less than 150 for the first time since 1954.

Tim Southee (4-55) accounted for Stuart Broad (nine) and Ben Foakes (seven), while Trent Boult (3-21) removed Matt Parkinson – playing his first Test as a concussion sub for Jack Leach – for eight.

That called James Anderson (1-49) and Broad (1-47) back into action far sooner than they may have expected at Lord's, and the former soon dismissed Will Young for only one in the third over.

Matthew Potts (2-50) then claimed the wicket of captain Kane Williamson (15) for the second time in the match, before Tom Latham (14) edged the Durham quick behind to leave New Zealand 38-3 at lunch.

Devon Conway, on 13, feathered a short Broad ball behind to Foakes to start the second session, but Mitchell and Blundell steadied the ship to reach tea at 128-4.

Ben Stokes and Potts opted to employ the short-ball tactic in the final session, but to no avail as Blundell posted his fifth half-century, with Mitchell following his partner to the landmark shortly after. 

Mitchell (97) and Blundell (90), who remain unbeaten in their 180-run partnership, will eye their second and third Test match hundreds respectively as New Zealand look to build their sizeable lead on day three.

Brilliant Broad blunted

Australian opener David Warner joked on Instagram "Conway, I feel your pain" after seeing the New Zealand left-hander dismissed in familiar fashion by Broad around the wicket in the first innings.

Broad's second removal of Conway came from an alternate, shorter line, but despite his brilliant bowling, he ultimately left with no additional reward after the important knocks by Mitchell and Blundell.

Young must learn to leave

Young came into this series after a strong County Championship outing with Northamptonshire, racking up 331 runs at an average of 55.2 for the Division One side across his first four matches.

But the New Zealand opener must adapt after twice being exposed by Anderson's new-ball expertise, having been dismissed in almost identical fashion in both innings on one when nicking through to Foakes.

Related items

  • 'Ronaldo to Atletico, why not?' – Guti believes Real Madrid legend could make controversial LaLiga return 'Ronaldo to Atletico, why not?' – Guti believes Real Madrid legend could make controversial LaLiga return

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid would make a "good pairing" despite his Real Madrid past, according to Los Blancos great Guti.

    Ronaldo began Manchester United's Premier League opener against Brighton and Hove Albion on the bench on Sunday, having missed the majority of the Red Devils' pre-season campaign after reportedly expressing his desire to join a Champions League side.

    With the likes of Bayern Munich quickly ruling out a move for the 37-year-old, Atletico were touted as a potential destination for Ronaldo, who leads Madrid's all-time goalscoring charts after netting 450 times for Los Blancos between 2009 and 2018.

    Those reports were not well received by Atletico supporters, however, some of whom unveiled a banner reading 'CR7 not welcome' during a pre-season friendly against Numancia.

    Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has also refuted suggestions Ronaldo could make the controversial move, but former Madrid midfielder Guti is surprisingly enthusiastic about the prospect.

    "If in this case he decides to come to Atletico Madrid, why not? It's a great team, he's a great striker," Guti told DAZN. 

     

    "Atletico Madrid needs a good striker and why not? I think it would be a good pairing.

    "It would be strange, because Madrid loves him very much, because he is a very loved player. I think that the Real Madrid fans wouldn't mind. I think that everything Cristiano had to give to Real Madrid, he already gave.

    "If he feels happy being able to play in a great team like Atletico Madrid and in the Spanish league, which I think he wants, why not?"

    Ronaldo has earnt a reputation as chief tormentor of Atletico throughout his illustrious career; the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 25 goals in 37 competitive appearances against Los Colchoneros, including a late penalty in Madrid's 4-1 extra-time Champions League final win in 2014.

  • Benzema altered his 'game and ambitions' when Ronaldo left Real Madrid Benzema altered his 'game and ambitions' when Ronaldo left Real Madrid

    Cristiano Ronaldo helped Karim Benzema "on and off the pitch" while at Real Madrid, but Los Blancos' current talisman knew he could do more when his former team-mate departed.

    Ronaldo is Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer, having netted 450 times in all competitions between 2009 and 2018, when he joined Juventus.

    Benzema has since picked up the mantle, however, scoring a remarkable 131 goals in the past four seasons. While Ronaldo's Manchester United future is in doubt, his old strike partner is thriving.

    Of players in Europe's top five leagues last term, only Robert Lewandowski (50) – who will go up against Benzema in LaLiga after his switch from Bayern Munich to Barcelona – scored more goals in all competitions than the France forward, who averaged a goal every 88 minutes.

    Asked ahead of the Super Cup clash with Eintracht Frankfurt whether Ronaldo's exit had directly benefited his own form, Benzema told a news conference: "It's true I've scored more goals but when Cristiano was here we had a different style, I provided more assists and he helped me on and off the pitch.

    "I knew I could do more [at the time] and when he left it was the time to change my game and ambitions, I'm doing that at the moment."

     

    Benzema's form has seen him emerge as a favourite to win this year's Ballon d'Or, a bid only strengthened by Madrid's success in LaLiga and the Champions League last campaign.

    But the striker is simply focused on his team's exploits, adding: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not, I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

    "I have to give more and more every year, it's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

    "I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or], there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

    For Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, there is little doubt that he has the best forward in world football at his disposal.

    Asked if Madrid, who wanted to sign Kylian Mbappe before Benzema's compatriot signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, needed to bring in a back-up striker before the transfer window closes, Ancelotti replied: "We have strikers, plenty of them. Benzema, Mariano [Diaz], [Eden] Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius [Junior], have I forgotten any?

    "When you're missing the best striker in the world, there are alternatives, but it's impossible to replace Benzema, no player in the world can replace Karim. If anything happens, we will adapt."

  • Wijnaldum spoke to former Liverpool team-mate Salah before making Roma switch Wijnaldum spoke to former Liverpool team-mate Salah before making Roma switch

    Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah was among those who advised him to join Jose Mourinho's Roma.

    Having left Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last year, Wijnaldum headed to Roma on a season-long loan deal last week.

    Wijnaldum lifted the Champions League and Premier League trophies during a successful five-year spell at Anfield, but his impact was limited during a frustrating 2021-22 campaign in the French capital.

    While the Netherlands international made 38 appearances in all competitions for PSG last season, fellow midfielders Danilo Pereira (2,623), Marco Verratti (2,621) and Idrissa Gueye (2,043) all played more than his total of 1,992 minutes for the Ligue 1 winners.

    After becoming the latest arrival of a busy transfer window at the Stadio Olimpico, Wijnaldum said former Giallorossi winger Salah, alongside Kevin Strootman and PSG wing-back Achraf Hakimi, encouraged him to move to Italy.  

    "First of all, I wanted to come because of the effort the club put in to sign me as a player," Wijnaldum told a news conference on Tuesday. 

    "Also, I spoke with Mo Salah and Kevin Strootman about Roma, about the club and the city, and I only heard good stories about it. 

    "I even spoke with Achraf Hakimi about it, even though he played at Inter Milan, he said [Roma] was a beautiful club and a beautiful place and I would be happy here. So that convinced me a lot.

    "I know the club, we played them twice when I was at Liverpool [in the Champions League in 2018], and the atmosphere at the Olimpico was amazing – so I knew that I would be playing for a club with a great atmosphere and beautiful supporters.

    "But that was basically the only thing I knew, so I asked for some advice from Mo and Strootman and they had good stories." 

    Wijnaldum has joined the likes of Nemanja Matic and Paulo Dybala in signing for Roma ahead of the new Serie A campaign, and added the influence of Mourinho was another factor in his decision to head to Italy.

    "When I arrived, we spoke more about football things. I think his record as a manager speaks for itself," the midfielder said of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss.

    "The things he did in football, the prizes he won and the clubs he managed, it's unbelievable. 

    "I think every player wants to work with him and I am the same. From the moment I spoke to him, I told myself I really wanted to join the club – but that was the case even before.

    "I think the thing that convinced me the most was the amount of effort the club, through Mr [director of football, Tiago] Pinto and the manager, put in to sign me. At that moment I felt really wanted and appreciated by the club and that helped me make the decision."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.