That’s it for today’s blog, though Ali Martin’s report will appear soon, as if by magic. Tim and I will be back tomorrow, so please join us then. Ta-ra!
Close of play: New Zealand lead by 165 runs
30th over: New Zealand 62-2 (Latham 30, Wagner 2) Anderson’s final over is comfortably defended by Wagner, and that’s the end of day four. England were in serious trouble at 140 for six, still 238 runs behind, but they fought back excellently with both bat and ball. Rory Burns made an outstanding 132, and there were runs and wicket for the impressive Ollie Robinson. England bowled superbly in the final session and New Zealand couldn’t get away. New Zealand are the only team who can win the game, but the draw is the strong favourite.
29th over: New Zealand 62-2 (Latham 30, Wagner 2) Robinson seams another beauty past Wagner’s outside edge. He gets through his over quickly, which means there will be time for one more tonight. Wagner gets a single off the last ball to keep the strike, and Robinson finishes an outstanding day’s work: 42 with the bat, 9-5-8-2 with the ball.
28th over: New Zealand 61-2 (Latham 30, Wagner 1) We should have time for one more over after this one from Anderson, which means 10 of the scheduled 98 will be lost. That and New Zealand’s scoring rate means that England will have to do something exceptional if they are to embarrass themselves and lose this match.
27th over: New Zealand 59-2 (Latham 28, Wagner 1) Robinson now has figures of 8-4-7-2, and I’m mildly in awe of his performance since those disgusting tweets emerged. It’s bad enough to be publicly shamed; it must be even worse when you know you deserve every last bit of it, and you don’t have the option of going to ground until it blows over. It would destroy most of us, yet if anything it has made Robinson play even better.
26th over: New Zealand 58-2 (Latham 27, Wagner 1) I said earlier that Ollie Robinson could potentially become a one-cap wonder. Yeah, I think we can forget that one.
25th over: New Zealand 58-2 (Latham 27, Wagner 1) Neil Wagner has come in as nightwatchman. That was so impressive from Robinson, not just the bowling but also his awareness. Nobody else really appealed for the LBW, but he was desperate to review it. I think Root agreed out of sympathy, rather than because he thought it was it.
WICKET! New Zealand 57-2 (Williamson LBW b Robinson 1)
He’s out! It was hitting the top of leg stump and Williamson has gone, having been worked over magnificently by Ollie Robinson.
ANOTHER REVIEW! Robinson has another huge shout for LBW against Williamson next ball. It’s turned down but Joe Root decides to risk England’s last review. I think this will be umpire’s call, so not out.
REVIEW! New Zealand 57-1 (Williamson not out 1)
Ollie Robinson traps Kane Williamson LBW with a big nipbacker, just like he said he would before the game – but it’s overturned on review. There was a very thin inside edge, though Williamson didn’t know that. He reviewed in the hope that it was bouncing over the stumps.
24th over: New Zealand 57-1 (Latham 27, Williamson 1) The ball has gone out of shape and is going to be changed. When play resumes, Williamson gets off the mark from his 16th delivery. New Zealand’s lack of attacking intent is surprising, though I suspect it’s mainly due to the quality of England’s bowling.
23rd over: New Zealand 55-1 (Latham 26, Williamson 0) New Zealand get four leg-byes when Robinson strays onto Latham’s pads. Latham then drives a single down the ground to leave Robinson with figures of 6-4-5-1. Since you asked, That was Helenio Herrera’s dream formation, although the 1 was optional.
“As ever, Millings’ Unfulfilled Promise XI is spot on, with Hick at No. 11 genius,” says Simon McMahon. “Ramprakash could be twelfth man. Stuart Broad will have more Test runs than both of them before the end of the summer. I’m not quite sure what that says about him, or them, or English cricket in the 90s, or today, but it must say something…”
That’s another cracking statistic. Mind you, Shane Warne scored more runs than Keith Miller, and he fulfilled every last bit of his potential, so it’s not just an England thing.
22nd over: New Zealand 50-1 (Latham 25, Williamson 0) James Anderson replaces the relatively expensive Mark Wood (4-0-17-0). His first ball is flashed uppishly for four by Latham, not far wide of Burns at backward point. Despite that boundary, England have done really well to keep New Zealand in check this evening.
21st over: New Zealand 43-1 (Latham 18, Williamson 0) Another maiden from Robinson, this time to Williamson. His figures are 5-4-4-1, which sounds like Jose Mourinho’s dream formation.
20th over: New Zealand 43-1 (Latham 18, Williamson 0) The umpire Michael Gough gives Wood an official warning for running on the pitch in his follow through. Wood continues round the wicket, at least for now, and Latham slaps a short ball past gully for four.
19th over: New Zealand 39-1 (Latham 14, Williamson 0) A wicket maiden from Robinson, who now has match figures of 32-9-75-5. He also made a useful 42 with the bat. It’s been a uniquely bittersweet Test debut.
Conway’s debut has been an unmitigated triumph. He made 223 runs from 411 deliveries, the fifth highest match total on debut – and, as Tim points out, he was not dismissed by a bowler until that 411th delivery.
WICKET! New Zealand 39-1 (Conway b Robinson 23)
Ollie Robinson roars with delight after bowling Devon Conway. It was another really good delivery, which jagged back off the seam, took the inside edge and trimmed the bails. He’s a serious bowler this lad.
18th over: New Zealand 39-0 (Latham 14, Conway 23) Michael Gough has another look at Wood’s followthrough from round the wicket. He must be close to an official warning.
17th over: New Zealand 34-0 (Latham 14, Conway 19) Latham is beaten by another cracking delivery from Robinson that moves a long way off the seam. Another maiden, his second in three overs. It looks like New Zealand are going to bat normally tonight and then assess the match situation in the morning.
16th over: New Zealand 34-0 (Latham 14, Conway 19) A misfield from Lawrence, I think, gives Latham an extra run. Wood’s second over ends with a spectacular delivery that cuts Conway in half and just misses the inside edge. That’s drinks.
“My sincere apologies to Brad and Brian McMillan, though I’m not sure who’d be more insulted,” writes Guy Hornsby. “I was busy checking the spelling of the surname so diligently that I subconsciously crick-o-corrected it to the burly South African legend. I’m sure Andy would’ve made a pun out of it. Yours, red-facedly, Sir Garfield Hornsby.”
15th over: New Zealand 29-0 (Latham 10, Conway 18) Conway flicks Robinson, who has switched to over the wicket, through square leg for four. He plays that shot so stylishly, with a flamingo flourish. Robinson responds smartly to beat Conway twice in three deliveries.
14th over: New Zealand 25-0 (Latham 10, Conway 14) Mark Wood is on for Stuart Broad, who bowled some jaffas in his spell of 6-1-9-0. Like Robinson, he is having problems with his follow through from round the wicket. Unlike Robinson, he doesn’t start with a maiden: a short ball is pulled round the corner for four by Latham.
13th over: New Zealand 21-0 (Latham 6, Conway 14) Ollie Robinson replaces James Anderson, who bowled an excellent spell of 6-1-11-0. He starts around the wicket to the left-handers, and after two balls Richard Kettleborough checks his follow through. That was a bit of a problem for Robinson in the first innings. He starts his spell with a maiden. I know batting hasn’t been easy this evening, but I’m surprised New Zealand have been quite so watchful.
12th over: New Zealand 21-0 (Latham 6, Conway 14) More technical problems, sorry. You’re not missing much.
11th over: New Zealand 20-0 (Latham 6, Conway 13) Latham is beaten by a jaffa from Anderson that straightens sharply and then bounces grotesquely. When Anderson goes a bit fuller, Latham drives pleasantly down the ground for a couple. New Zealand lead by 123.
“Glad to see Conway is well on his way to becoming a one-innings wonder,” says Ian Copestake. “Have at thee fate.”
10th over: New Zealand 18-0 (Latham 4, Conway 13) Conway gets his first boundary, flicking Broad classily past midwicket.
“Rob,” says Brian Withington. “Would the Mac Millings XI of broken dreams be coached by Peter One Moores Time? Brutal choice between Hick and Ramprakash for no. 11 slot btw.”
Only Millings knows, but personally I’d give the job to John Wrong or maybe Dav Whatless.
9th over: New Zealand 11-0 (Latham 4, Conway 9) That really was a stinker of a review.
CONWAY IS NOT OUT! There was an inside edge, so England are down to their last review. The ball pitched miles outside leg stump as well. That aside, he was plumb.
ENGLAND REVIEW FOR LBW! Anderson implores Richard Kettleborough to give Conway out LBW. England have two reviews left – and Root chooses to go upstairs. He may soon regret that decision.
8th over: New Zealand 11-0 (Latham 3, Conway 7) Conway is having a torrid time. He survives a biggish LBW appeal from Broad, who doesn’t bother arguing for a review. Turns out it was umpire’s call on height. A flamingo flick brings Conway a single later in the over, and hints that he may have had enough of being a punchbag for Broad. The over ends with a clever offcutter from Broad that just misses the off stump as Latham offers no stroke.
“Hello again Rob,” says Brad Mcmillan. “I sometimes wonder whether Brian would have been a more appropriate name for me, but I also wonder whether what little success I had with foreign girls on holiday as a teenager was because my name is actually Brad. Either way, I’ll forgive Guy Hornsby because he improved my original comment on Andy Zaltzman by mentioning the pun expertise and, well, because he’s Guy Hornsby.”
Or Gary, as you should have called him.
7th over: New Zealand 10-0 (Latham 3, Conway 6) “After getting frustrated at England’s batting handing the initiative to New Zealand, I’m going to attempt to cheer myself up by jumping ship now, and watching Wales v Albania,” says Matt Dony. “I have a sneaking suspicion it might not be 100% successful. I’ll probably be back soon enough. And, whenever I do come back, I imagine Conway will be batting.”
6th over: New Zealand 8-0 (Latham 1, Conway 6) An LBW shout is caught in the throat when Conway gets a late inside-edge, and then he is rapped on the glove by another nasty delivery from Broad. He and Anderson have been superb with the new ball, reminding us that attack can be the best form of defence in the field. Latham and particularly Conway have a job on to survive, never mind score runs.
ANOTHER REVIEW FOR CAUGHT BEHIND! Conway is beaten on the inside by a beauty from Broad, who thinks there might have been an inside edge. He persuades Joe Root to review, and those with experience of Stuart Broad and DRS will have an idea what happens next. Replays show Conway missed it by a long way, so this time England do lose a review.
5th over: New Zealand 8-0 (Latham 1, Conway 6) “Dearest Rob,” lies Mac Millings. “In light of your heartbreaking admission that Andy Zaltzman is ‘the man I dreamed of becoming’, please allow me to introduce my all-time Unfulfilled Promise XI:
LATHAM IS NOT OUT! Anderson got one to straighten sharply from round the wicket. Latham played across the line and there was a noise before the ball went through to Bracey. Joe Root reviewed with one second remaining, but replays showed the ball missed the outside edge and hit the back pad. It was actually very close to LBW, umpire’s call on point of contact, so England keep their review.
4th over: New Zealand 5-0 (Latham 1, Conway 3) The new ball is doing plenty. Conway shoulders arms to a ball that lifts sharply and almost hits him in the armpit; then he is beaten, feeling for a lovely delivery that moves away off the seam. Conway nods respectfully at Broad.
3rd over: New Zealand 3-0 (Latham 0, Conway 2) Conway pulls his hand off the bat handle after being surprised by a bit of extra bounce, this time from Anderson. It’s been a quiet start to the innings, just three runs from three overs.
“What’s the plan now for NZ?” says Ruth Purdue. “Assess the pitch a few overs and then tee off?”
Yep, I guess so. This hasn’t been the easiest pitch on which to score quickly, though, so I don’t think it will be a sixfest.