Dan Lawrence helps England rally in opposition to New Zealand within the second Take a look at


On a day when England's weaknesses were often known, and New Zealand's strengths too, perhaps most importantly was the soundtrack of glorious, constant hustle and bustle that accompanied it all. Half centuries from Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence and some late-day practical help from Olly Stone and Mark Wood allowed the home side to end the first day of their second Test against the Black Caps at 258 for seven, and a match that seemed to have been Running away from them once again hung in the balance.

Last week New Zealand excelled at Lord & # 39; s with a team that only removed Trent Boult from full strength; That week they made six changes, so their captain Kane Williamson could rest a sore elbow and their wicketkeeper BJ Watling had a bad back, and England was nailed back on the ropes for a long time. It was hard, however, to be discouraged on a day when the sun was shining – after all, for the final hour or so – and a real crowd gathered.

It felt different from the start: sometimes the replay of Jerusalem before the game can seem pointless rather than poignant, but here, when the UK's second largest gathering since March 2020 found its voice, it was not only engaging but actually quite emotional .

When they negotiated a long queue and presented both a ticket and evidence of a recent negative Covid test, the audience was hungry for action and ready to cheer for everything, among other things. There was no chance that the pre-game "moment of unity" would receive anything other than applause from these supporters. At lunch the audience was completely warmed up and in the first hour of the afternoon session the Hollies booth rocked while the English team staggered.

The morning had been quieter in every way. The last time England's inaugural partnership made it to lunchtime on the first day of a home test was against India in August 2011 nearly a decade ago. On that occasion, Alastair Cook was knocked out five balls later; Dom Sibley lasted six this time.

After his low-action 207-ball-60 in the second innings at Lord & # 39; s, Sibley had slipped straight into a similar gear, and in the first hour of the day he and Rory Burns scored 25 at 1.78 and above, while Boult was above it made fun of the idea that he had to get in shape with the Dukes Ball. In the morning it was slowly about England, which carefully built a platform for itself. In the half hour after lunch it was all about dismantling.

By now, many in the crowd appeared to have drunk enough to be completely disinfected, and during lunch the ball appeared to have gone through a similar process. Matt Henry suddenly gained twice as much momentum as he did in the morning, and Sibley didn't last long enough to get used to it. He got a thick edge to the fourth ball of the session, which ran far out of the gully for four, and a thin edge to the sixth, which nestled into Tom Blundell's gloves.

James Bracey sees the ball caught by Daryl Mitchell to continue his difficult start to Test cricket with the bat for England. Photo: Clive Mason / Getty Images

Step inside Zak Crawley for his latest undeniably uplifting cameo. If there was anything that moved an Englishman to tears more than this introductory portrayal of Jerusalem, it was the sight of Crawley, once again holding out his bat for a shipment he should have left. He has averaged 9.63 in 11 innings since his phenomenal 267 strike against Pakistan last year, with double digits only twice. His average for his last six innings is three. Batsmen are said to be spotted by adversaries, a phrase that suggests a slow, methodical process of exhaustively exposing tiny technical flaws while a paleontologist might uncover a newly discovered fossil. At Crawley, they seem to have used a wrecking ball.

Joe Root pocketed his sixth ball through a gap to hit the target and his seventh to Blundell, and 67 with no loss at lunch had turned 85 for three.

Ollie Pope stayed longer, even if he never really got going, except maybe running four when the ball stopped in a persistently sluggish outfield before chasing a broad shod from Ajaz Patel and making his way through at 19, a sense of opportunity Obviously spurned when he hit the bat in anger on his way off the field.

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At this point Lawrence showed up. Although he got some luck early in his innings, passing twice between the third slip and the gully in a single Henry, he relaxed from there and scored some fine shots to reach 50 as the shadows lengthened. By this point, Burns was off Boult at the end of an overs with brilliant manipulation thanks to a fine low catch in the briefs of substitute captain Tom Latham, as was James Bracey of Boult's next ball, the Englishman's test career with the racket so far from two innings, seven balls and no runs.

With the help of Stone and Wood, Lawrence continued to improve. Towards the end there were two delicious borders in four boult deliveries and shortly thereafter a straight ride from the same bowler that was tantamount to bullying. In the end, he was unbeaten at 67, and the audience had something to sing about.


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