Broad takes six but Southee fifty reduces NZ deficit

Lunch England 307 (Bairstow 101, Wood 52, Southee 6-62, Boult 4-87) and 7 for 0 (Cook 4*, Stoneman 2*) lead New Zealand 278 (Watling 85, Broad 6-54) by 36 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Stuart Broad finished with figures of 6 for 54, but a combative morning’s batting allowed New Zealand’s lower order to reduce their first-innings deficit to a manageable 29. Tim Southee posted his first Test half-century since 2014 before Neil Wagner and Trent Boult gave England’s frustrated bowlers the run-around in an enterprising 39-run stand for the tenth wicket.

Faced with an awkward 15 minutes of batting at the end of the session, England’s openers made it to lunch unscathed, with Alastair Cook – under pressure following three single-figure scores – showing a renewed determination to get on to the front foot against the left-arm swing of Boult in particular. He and Mark Stoneman added seven more runs in five overs.

After resuming on 192 for 6, Southee signalled New Zealand’s intent by pulling the fourth ball of the morning, from Ben Stokes, over wide long-on for the 64th six of his Test career, drawing him level with AB de Villiers for the most by any active player. He then followed that feat by slapping consecutive fours in Mark Wood’s next over, including a brutal straight drive which all but parted the bowler’s hair.

It took the arrival of the second new ball for England to regain a measure of control, as BJ Watling – the silent partner to both Southee and, before him, Colin de Grandhomme, was uprooted for 85 by the ball of the innings, a full-length outswinger from James Anderson that bent from leg to off to smash the stumps. Watling had been denied his seventh Test century, but having hauled his team off the canvas at 36 for 5, he had more than played his part.

Ish Sodhi was the next to fall, done in by a good-length delivery that straightened off the pitch to snick the edge and hand Broad his first five-wicket haul since the Johannesburg Test against South Africa in January 2016. And when Anderson ended Southee’s fun, plucking out his middle stump three balls after he had reached his fifty, England had reduced their hosts to 239 for 9 and were looking at a substantial lead.

Boult and Wagner, however, had other ideas. Wagner, pinned on the helmet by a fierce Broad lifter early in his stay, slapped Anderson out of the attack with a 13-run over, including an impulsive hook over fine leg for six, while Boult – as idiosyncratic as Courtney Walsh in his pomp – ducked and dived at the crease, and occasionally connected with venom. He rattled along to 16 from 22 balls before top-edging Broad to fine leg to ensure, for the second innings in the match, that all ten wickets were shared by just the opening bowlers.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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