Ross Taylor was three runs away from his half-century at the end of the second day © Getty Images
Ross Taylor was three runs away from his half-century at the end of the second day © Getty Images

New Zealand ended Day Two of the First Test at Lord’s against England in commanding position and now trail the hosts by just 86 runs going into the third day. New Zealand showed great determination in their batting, with some poor bowling and fielding further adding to England’s woes. Pramod Ananth looks back at the day and analyses what is in store for Day Three.

England added just 35 runs to their overnight score of 354 for seven and got bowled out for 389. Moeen Ali, who was unbeaten on 49 on Day One, completed his half-century, which was pretty much the only highlight of the game. READ: England vs New Zealand 2015, 1st Test at Lord’s, Stumps report

New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Tom Latham came out to bat with positive intent. Guptill was making a comeback into Test cricket, as he has not played in the longest format for over two years now. He had a good County stint with Derbyshire recently, where he scored his highest First-Class score of 227. His selection in the team therefore comes as no suprise. Guptill and Latham played out the new ball cautiously. When both of them got themselves settled at the crease, they started playing some shots. Updates: England vs New Zealand 2015, 1st Test at Lord’s, Day 2

But England let go of two good opportunities early on, first in the 13th over when Guptill was dismissed off a front foot no ball, denying Mark Wood of his first Test wicket and then in the 18th over when Ian Bell dropped a sitter at slips. This would eventually cost England as Guptill and Latham would go on to make 70 and 59 respectively, in the process put up 148 for the first wicket.  READ: Matt Henry creates history at Lord’s during England-New Zealand 1st Test

With tea just a few overs away, England managed to finally get a breakthrough. Latham was dismissed LBW off the bowling of Moeen. Just a few deliveries later, Guptill too was gone, giving Stuart Broad his first wicket of the match.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor remained unbeaten on 92 and 47 respectively and are in a middle of an excellent partnership. Williamson is known to play the big innings and Taylor at the other end keeps his head, New Zealand could wipe out the deficit in the first session of play on Day Three.

The only advantage England have going into Day Three at this stage is that they are still ahead by 86 runs. The first hour is going to be crucial for both teams and it will set the tone for the rest of the day. If England manage to pick up a couple of quick wickets, there could be panic in the New Zealand middle-order.

The second new ball too is just around the corner and it will not be surprising if England take it, as they do not possess any quality spinner in their ranks. They cannot be over reliant on Moeen or for that matter even Joe Root to fetch them wickets. They have a good pace attack and that is their strength. The likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad have run through oppositions in the past and England need just that. Wood too has looked impressive, but unlucky not to get a scalp to his credit yet. England must make the new ball count.

If New Zealand survive till lunch without much damage, they will feel that they can get a big lead, something in the range of between 200 to 250. With Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson to follow, New Zealand will certainly back themselves to get a huge score. McCullum has been in excellent form in all formats of the game and will look to carry it onto this match as well.

England will not want to concede a lead beyond 100. For that to happen, they will certainly have their work cut out. They have to gobble up all the chances that come their way and be accurate with their bowling and fielding as well. If they do not do so, they run into the danger of wiping off a huge deficit to avoid an innings defeat.

One gets the feeling that the England bowlers have not tested the Kiwi batsmen out thoroughly yet. The batsmen have not been peppered with short deliveries, nor have they bowled any wicket-taking deliveries.  After a point, the fielding team’s shoulders dropped and they just wanted to call it a day. England surely must work on that front.

Alastair Cook is under tremendous pressure both as player and a captain to deliver in this series. If these are signs of things to come, England cricket will be in further shambles and they will have only themselves to blame. Day Three is perhaps going to be the most crucial day in this Test match.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)