November 22, 2019 / 12:17 AM / 20 days ago

Cricket-Southee drags NZ back into first England test with quick wickets

WELLINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Tim Southee finally got some reward for a solid bowling performance on the first day as he sparked a mini-collapse in England’s batting before the tourists reached 329-8 at lunch on the second day of the first test at Bay Oval on Friday.

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was on 29 while spinner Jack Leach was 12 not out as they thwarted New Zealand from bowling England out before the break with an unbroken 34-run, ninth-wicket partnership.

Southee, along with the rest of New Zealand’s pace attack, went largely unrewarded following a day of toil on Thursday in blazing sunshine at Mt. Maunganui with England ending on 241-4 and with Ben Stokes at the crease on 67 and set to push on.

The all-rounder and Ollie Pope, who overturned an early lbw decision on review while on his overnight score of 18, dominated the first 30 minutes with Stokes in particular bristling with aggression as he looked to accelerate the run rate.

Stokes raced to 91 and looked set for his ninth test century when he slashed at a Southee delivery and was caught one handed by a diving Ross Taylor at first slip, making up for his spilled chance from Stokes just before stumps on Thursday.

Pope followed two overs later for 29 when he was snapped up by wicketkeeper BJ Watling off Southee, who then trapped Sam Curran in front on the next delivery to reduce England to 286-7, having lost three wickets for nine runs.

Southee, who missed completing the hat-trick against Jofra Archer, then took a sharp catch in the slips in the next over to dismiss the fast bowler for four and give Trent Boult his first wicket of the innings. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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