Brilliant Blundell century frustrates England on day two at Bay Oval

By Sports Desk February 17, 2023

Tom Blundell frustrated England by making a magnificent century before New Zealand took two wickets under the lights on an enthralling day two of the first Test at Bay Oval.

The Black Caps were in trouble on 83-5 in reply to the tourists' 325-9 declared in Mount Maunganui, but Blundell made a Test-best 138 to get them up to 306 all out.

Devon Conway (77) also batted superbly after being dropped by Zak Crawley when he had only nine runs to his name on day one.

Blundell and Blair Tickner put on 59 for the final wicket before England closed on 79-2 in the day-night Test, leading by 98 after losing openers Ben Duckett and Crawley.

Neil Wagner hung around to make 27 after New Zealand resumed on 37-3 on Friday before falling to Stuart Broad, and the excellent Ollie Robinson (4-54) trapped Daryl Mitchell leg before without scoring.

Conway and Blundell combined for a 75-run stand, but the Black Caps were six down when the opener pulled Ben Stokes to Ollie Pope at square leg, and Jack Leach got in the act by removing Michael Bracewell.

Scott Kuggeleijn chipped in with 20 before Robinson cleaned up the debutant and sent Tim Southee on his way, so it was left for Tickner to dig in and enable Blundell to reach three figures.

Blundell's sublime knock was finally ended when he was caught and bowled by James Anderson (3-36), leaving the England batters a tricky period to bat late in the day.

Duckett (25) and Crawley (28) got starts but fell to Tickner and Kuggeleijn respectively. Broad had a life when Kuggeleijn and Blundell looked at each other rather than going for a catch after being sent in as a 'nighthawk', seeing it through to the close along with Ollie Pope. 

Blundell ensures it is game on

England would have had a substantial lead but for an outstanding innings from Blundell.

He made a fourth Test hundred, having also scored a century against England at Trent Bridge last year.

The wicketkeeper-batter struck 19 fours and a six, spending just over three hours at the crease to keep his team in the game.

Anderson and Broad equal record

Anderson and Broad matched the record set by Australia legends Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath for the most successful bowling partnership in Test history.

The England duo have 1,001 wickets between them when playing together after taking one apiece on day two, and they will surely break new ground in this match.

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