James Anderson consolidated his march to the top spot in the world Test bowling rankings with a devastating opening stint as England gained complete control of the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday. Rain forced an early end to day two in Wellington, and veteran seamer Anderson snared 3-37, dropping the Black Caps to 138-7 as England declared their first innings at 435-8. With to spinner Jack Leach’s three wickets, New Zealand has a 297-run deficit with three days remaining.
Red-hot England is on pace to win the two-match series after winning the first Test by 267 runs at Mount Maunganui with the same formula of aggressive batting and successful new-ball bowling.
While Joe Root was still unbroken at 153 when captain Ben Stokes made his powerful declaration, the visitors had a half-hour to attack the top of the Black Caps’ order before lunch.
Devon Conway (zero) and Kane Williamson (four) were eliminated by Anderson in response to the summons, leaving the hosts with a 12-2 advantage.
During the break, the demanding paceman removed Will Young (2), who at 40 was the oldest player to hold the position, in order to emphasise why he had been reinstated at No. 1 in the ICC player rankings that were released this week.
Ben Foakes, the gloveman, received delicate edges from all three batsmen, giving Anderson a total of 188 Test victims who were caught by the wicketkeeper—36 more than any other bowler.
Left-handers Tom Latham (35) and Henry Nicholls (30) launched a rearguard in an attempt to reverse-sweep Leach (3-45), but both players fell, making fielders’ catches simple.
First Test centurion Tom Blundell had reached 25 without being out before play was called at 5.45 p.m. (0445 GMT), and his boisterous skipper Tim Southee was unbeaten on 23 in an innings that included two sixes.
Around 25 overs were lost due to the late rain, which was a reflection of how early day one’s finish came when the clouds appeared.
Yet, England still has plenty of time to work towards preventing New Zealand from winning an eighth straight game while also winning a seventh straight Test.
An entertaining first session saw England resume at 315-3 and score 120 runs while losing five wickets.
Harry Brook only added two to his overnight score before losing for 186 in the third over.
After saving the visitors from a 21-3 disadvantage early in the first day, he and Root put on an explosive effort that was a part of a 302-run partnership that was the second-highest in England’s Test history against New Zealand.
Root effortlessly surpassed his overnight 101 to reach 150 for the fourteenth time in his career.