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2nd Test, Day 1: Mitchell, Blundell fifties frustrate England, put New Zealand on top

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Nottingham, June 11 (Ajit Weekly News) Gritty unbeaten fifties from Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell and their big partnership frustrated England and put New Zealand on top on the opening day of the second Test, here on Friday.

Mitchell (81 not out) and Blundell (67 not out) stitched an unbeaten 149-run partnership for the fifth wicket and took New Zealand to 318/4 at stumps on Day 1.

Put in to bat first, New Zealand openers Will Young and Tom Latham provided a solid platform with their 84-run partnership. Without much swing or movement off the pitch, the Kiwi openers were able to keep the England bowlers at bay for the first hour and also did not miss out on scoring opportunities.

Skipper Ben Stokes brought himself on early in the second hour and ended up being struck for boundaries. But he also provided the much-needed wicket by sending Young (47) back to the pavilion.

Latham also fell in the next over to James Anderson, pulling one straight to midwicket. However, Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls continued New Zealand’s positive approach on either side of the lunch break. The third-wicket pair put a 77-run before Stokes turned partnership breaker again by getting Nicholls to edge one to the wicketkeeper. Anderson struck shortly after the drinks interval to dismiss Conway.

Stokes could have had another wicket but an outside edge that he induced off Mitchell’s bat was put down by Joe Root at first slip. The No. 5 batter made England pay for the miss by hitting regular boundaries.

Blundell, on the other end, was more measured with his approach but also capitalised on anything that was in his area and provided good assistance to Mitchell in a productive partnership that helped New Zealand overcome the quick dismissals.

An hour into the post-tea session, Mitchell got past fifty and then top-edged a six off Broad over fine leg to bring up the century stand with Blundell and was also struck on his helmet in the same over.

England lost a review after Mitchell attempted a reverse sweep off Root, with replays confirming there was no bat or glove involved. Blundell, who was reprieved by a tough chance put down by Root at slip, got to his fifty, struck two fours off Leach, and then saw England burn another review in the same over.

The hosts’ poor day on the field was summed up when Crawley and Jonny Bairstow were just hoping the other would go for the catch when Broad found the outside edge of Blundell’s bat with the second new ball, as the hosts endured a wicketless final session.

Brief scores: New Zealand 318/4 (Mitchell 81 not out, Blundell 67 not out; James Anderson 2-42, Ben Stokes 2-40) vs England.

–Ajit Weekly News

avn/bsk

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