96th over: New Zealand 255-5 (Watling 33, Mitchell 29) Another maiden from Woakes, who slips in a slower ball to keep us awake.
95th over: New Zealand 255-5 (Watling 33, Mitchell 29) Well, they are trying the barrage, but they’re getting Curran to deliver it. While he did take a wicket with a bouncer this morning, it’s asking a lot of a diminutive medium-pacer. “Hint of desperation,” says a commentator who may be Mark Richardson. Mitchell, seeing three men back for the hook, helps himself to a single; for Watling, the three men come in to save the single in the midwicket zone.
94th over: New Zealand 254-5 (Watling 33, Mitchell 28) Woakes bowls a bouncer to Watling which is so sparky and steep that you wonder if England shouldn’t try a barrage from Archer.
93rd over: New Zealand 253-5 (Watling 33, Mitchell 27) Runs! Five of them! Mitchell flicks Curran for a single, then Watling cuts for four. That sends his strike rate for the innings rocketing to 28.
92nd over: New Zealand 248-5 (Watling 29, Mitchell 26) Another over from Woakes, another maiden.
91st over: New Zealand 248-5 (Watling 29, Mitchell 26) Curran bowls a maiden to Mitchell, who nearly perishes, not through anything the bowler does, but by falling over as he decides against a run. Flat on his stomach, poking his bat back over the line, he loses his dignity but not his wicket.
An interesting take on Joe Root has landed in my inbox. “Root’s batting decline was already beginning before he got the captaincy,” says David Hindle. “It was a small drop off, but nevertheless it was there. Why will taking the captaincy away automatically correct the list of technical problems with his batting? Why will it stop his persistent nicking off to nothing balls? Why will it stop him falling over his front leg in embarrassing style to perfectly straight ones? It won’t.
“He’s no batting saviour. He never will be one. It’s time to do more than drop him as captain. It’s time to look for someone else entirely.”
90th over: New Zealand 248-5 (Watling 29, Mitchell 26) Woakes beats Watling, too comprehensively to catch the edge. And that is lunch, with New Zealand owning the last hour and honours even over the morning as a whole. We’ve had 35.2 overs and NZ have made 75-2. Most of the bowlers have been good, but England’s collective energy, so strong at first, has gone flat. With rain around, the draw must be the favourite and that suits NZ just fine. See you in half an hour.
89th over: New Zealand 248-5 (Watling 29, Mitchell 26) While we’re on the subject of slo-mo, Rory Burns pulls off a half-stop in the gully which, when slowed down, turns into a ballet. It brings a song to mind – any Boz Scaggs fans in the house?
The angels lay their clouds across his sky
They line up for him every night
Some have wings and others sing
The rest do lazy ballets in the air
88th over: New Zealand 247-5 (Watling 28, Mitchell 26) Woakes continues, conceding a couple of singles. More importantly, here’s John from Turton, replying to Ben Bernards (77th over). “To be fair, it was a reference to the rugby community. On the way to the ground this morning, there was a guy on the AM sports channel going on about Wayne Barnes’s mistake in the World Cup final 12 years ago! The cricket followers do have a much better sense of proportion.” This is like an argument in a very nice pub, filmed in slow motion.
87th over: New Zealand 245-5 (Watling 27, Mitchell 25) Archer is off too, replaced by Curran, who beats Mitchell outside off. There was a noise, and an appeal, but the noise was the thud of bat on pitch.
86th over: New Zealand 243-5 (Watling 26, Mitchell 24) Root takes Broad off, quite rightly, and brings on Woakes. He starts with an ellipsis – dot, dot, dot –before going one, one, dot. It’s all a bit too tidy from England. Root may be regretting not having Saqib Mahmood among his five seamers.
85th over: New Zealand 241-5 (Watling 25, Mitchell 23) The fifty partnership comes up, bathetically, with a leg bye off Archer. It’s taken 21 overs, not that that will bother Watling, who was probably born imperturbable. It’s a maiden for Archer, but there’s no threat.
84th over: New Zealand 240-5 (Watling 25, Mitchell 23) Broad’s finding some movement but it’s modest and into the pads, where most batsmen are comfortable.
83rd over: New Zealand 237-5 (Watling 24, Mitchell 21) Mitchell keeps on flirting with LBW, jabbing and flicking at straight balls, but it’s working for him. Jofra has found a few extra Ks, up to 138 now.
82nd over: New Zealand 234-5 (Watling 24, Mitchell 18) Well, Broad isn’t the third seamer yet: he stays on, and Woakes will have to wait. “This is the moment in the game,” says David Lloyd. “This is it.” And he suspects that England are not raising their intensity – though Broad, as if hearing him, has an LBW appeal against Mitchell with a nice late inswinger. That would be very reviewable, if England weren’t out of reviews. But HawkEye agrees with umpire Dharmasena that it was going over, just.
81st over: New Zealand 232-5 (Watling 23, Mitchell 17) Root takes the new ball and hands it to Jofra Archer, with a suspicion that it’ll be Woakes at the other end. Archer’s second ball swings in after passing the stumps, wrong-footing Pope and going for a bye. There’s some bite and bounce, but, as yet, no pace: the first four balls are only 130-132 kph.
80th over: New Zealand 230-5 (Watling 22, Mitchell 17) I don’t believe it! After 17 successive dots, Watling tucks Broad for a triumphant two. And then cover-drives him for four. Broad, who bowled well this morning, is looking a bit third-seamer-ish now.
79th over: New Zealand 224-5 (Watling 16, Mitchell 17) Stokes bowls what is surely his last over. He’s limping back to his mark, yet still running in and bowling faster than Broad. His itch to be involved is ridiculous.
78th over: New Zealand 224-5 (Watling 16, Mitchell 17) Denly’s little outing is over as Broad returns. Yet another maiden, the 20th of the innings.
77th over: New Zealand 224-5 (Watling 16, Mitchell 17) Stokes looks in proper pain now, though it doesn’t stop him appealing for caught behind against Mitchell. Pope and Root are very interested but they don’t have any reviews left.
Here’s Ben Bernards, picking up on John from Turton (71st over). “What’s with this geezer? We’ve had a lot of English migrate to NZ in the last 10-15 years, but not sure we’ve reached an overall national status of ‘whingers’ just yet…” At last, a diplomatic incident.
76th over: New Zealand 223-5 (Watling 15, Mitchell 17) Milking time for Denly. Root is filling space before the new ball but there’s a case for getting Archer on now, so he’s firing on all cylinders when he has something shiny in his hand.
75th over: New Zealand 219-5 (Watling 14, Mitchell 14) Watling flicks Stokes for two, but then misses one that straightens outside off. Watching Watling today, you’d never guess he’d just made a double hundred.
74th over: New Zealand 217-5 (Watling 12, Mitchell 14) Denly gives his first ball oodles of air and Mitchell is equal to it, biding his time before playing a cover drive. A couple of balls later, Mitchell is dancing down the track and hitting a straight six, which a TV graphic clocks at 110 metres.
73rd over: New Zealand 209-5 (Watling 12, Mitchell 6) Stokes is game for a second over, angling it in as he always has. Even with a dicky knee, he can bowl a bouncer that vaults over the keeper for two byes. That’s another maiden. Anyone feeling sleepy?
72nd over: New Zealand 207-5 (Watling 12, Mitchell 6) Stung by all that criticism, Joe Root has suddenly become Mr Funky Bowling Changes. He replaces Curran with Joe Denly’s leg-breaks, which didn’t feature at all in the last Test. Root is rewarded with a very handy over – five dots and a single to Watling. And that’s drinks, with the morning belonging firmly to England.
71st over: New Zealand 206-5 (Watling 11, Mitchell 6) Off goes Woakes, and on comes… Stokes! So much for Ian Ward’s story at the start of the day (20:48). He runs in as normal, although there are one or two grimaces and gyrations as he walks back. Mitchell, perhaps wary of Stokes’ s reputation, plays out another maiden.
Here’s John from Turton. “I know this subject’s been aired before but has anyone explained the one-minute delay? I suspect the Radio NZ Sport commentator is less than a cover drive’s distance from me but he’s had time to send a smoke signal by the time it catches up. Also, why doesn’t Sky Go work in the Land of the Long White Whinge?”
70th over: New Zealand 206-5 (Watling 11, Mitchell 6) Curran follows the review with a long hop, which Watling clubs through backward point. That’s the first boundary today off Curran, whose spell now stands at 5-2-8-1.
Review! For LBW – Curran to Watling
A medium-sized appeal, not given, no big deal – but they’ve reviewed, which seems odd. “Looks like a deflection off the bat,” says the TV ump. And it is, so not out.
69th over: New Zealand 202-5 (Watling 7, Mitchell 6) A maiden from Woakes to Mitchell, who is now starting on off stump. We’ve had 15 runs in the past ten overs, and nine of them came in that little flurry of four balls from Woakes.
68th over: New Zealand 202-5 (Watling 7, Mitchell 6) Mitchell is falling over to the off side, which should make him a candidate for LBW b Curran. And the TV cameras have spotted his mum filming him on her phone, which could make him a candidate for collapsing with sheer embarrassment.
67th over: New Zealand 201-5 (Watling 7, Mitchell 5) Off his ninth ball, Mitchell finally connects with one of his big square-of-the-wicket strokes, flicking a short ball from Woakes for a handsome first four. Watling adds insult to injury with a poky little push-edge for four, and that’s the 200 up. “New Zealand’s best over of the morning,” says Ian Smith. “Rolling in the deep,” adds Adele, on the PA.
66th over: New Zealand 192-5 (Watling 3, Mitchell 0) Another maiden as Curran pitches it up, searching for swing, and Watling’s drives go to the men in the ring.
Here’s John Starbuck. “if England restrict NZ to 250 or so they’ll feel they’ve done a good job. The poverty of current expectations?” I wouldn’t quit say that. It’s true that if Jimmy Anderson was here, you’d have expected the score to be 170 for seven last night. But 250 all out would be fine, wouldn’t it?
65th over: New Zealand 192-5 (Watling 3, Mitchell 0) Woakes keeps it tight to Watling and then jags a short one past the outside edge of Mitchell, who is being given an early introduction to the difference between Tests and T20.
64th over: New Zealand 191-5 (Watling 2, Mitchell 0) Out comes Daryl Mitchell, for the first time in Test cricket, though he has the comforts of his home ground. He stands well outside his crease, which surely means you stick a short leg in to keep him pegged down. Root doesn’t. Curran tries another bouncer and Mitchell misses it by a mile with a hook that’s more of a flail. A wicket maiden for Curran, who so often makes something happen.
Wicket! Nicholls c Broad b Curran 16 (NZ 191-5)
Curran, who deserved a wicket five minutes ago, has one now as Nicholls gets under his bouncer and gives Broad a simple catch at fine leg. England are back in business.
63rd over: New Zealand 191-4 (Nicholls 16, Watling 2) Time for another change, as Woakes replaces Archer. Woakes’s line and length are as tidy as his hair, and more so than his new-found beard.
“Evening Tim.” Evening, Guy Hornsby. “I’m embarrassed to say I thought play began at 10pm, so my gallows-ready humour had been slightly deflated by seeing Tom Latham’s already out.” First-world problems, eh. “I can’t even get my despondency in properly. Is there anything more English, staying in on a Friday night?”
62nd over: New Zealand 191-4 (Nicholls 16, Watling 2) Time for a change: Broad gives way to Sam Curran, who is 12 years younger, a foot shorter and much the same speed. He immediately draws a nick from Watling – and it falls tantalisingly short of Ollie Pope, who had to change direction where perhaps an experienced keeper would have been in the right place.
61st over: New Zealand 188-4 (Nicholls 14, Watling 1) Archer moves over the wicket to the left-handed Nicholls, who is hit on the thigh as he tries to whip to leg. Another maiden. Archer may be averaging 146 with the ball in this short series but he is only going at 2.48 per over.
60th over: New Zealand 188-4 (Nicholls 14, Watling 1) After defending a series of full, straight deliveries from Broad, Nicholls pulls the last ball of the over to deep backward square for a single. England are one quick wicket from being in a very good position.
59th over: New Zealand 187-4 (Nicholls 13, Watling 1) A lovely yorker from Archer is kept out by Watling. A maiden. England have started well this morning, with accuracy and intensity.
58th over: New Zealand 187-4 (Nicholls 13, Watling 1) Broad, the wise old don of the attack in the absence of Anderson, bowls another accurate over. He has excellent figures of 16-5-38-2.
57th over: New Zealand 186-4 (Nicholls 13, Watling 0) Nicholls flicks Archer breezily through square leg for four. Archer’s request for a field change is rejected by Root, and the pair have a long chat at the end of the over. Their relationship is worth keeping an eye on.
56th over: New Zealand 182-4 (Nicholls 9, Watling 0) BJ Watling is the new batsman.
WICKET! New Zealand 182-4 (Latham b Broad 105)
A rare, almost shocking mistake from Tom Latham gives England an early wicket. He offered no stroke to Broad, bowling around the wicket, and heard the grim sound of his off stump being pegged back. Latham played with such expert judgement that it’s hard to believe he left a straight one. It did jag back a touch, but not enough to absolve Latham.
55th over: New Zealand 178-3 (Latham 101, Nicholls 9) Jofra Archer completes the over he started yesterday afternoon. His first ball is a sharp, 88mph bouncer that Latham avoids. Another bouncer hits Latham on the shoulder and flies away for a leg bye. But the final delivery of the over is a bit too straight, which allows Nicholls to jump across and flick it fine for four.
Some unsurprising news from Hamilton: Ben Stokes will not be able to bowl today, according to Sky Sports’ Ian Ward. It means England are down to their last four seamers.
Evening everyone, morning everyone else, and welcome to the second day of the second Test. The first day was … frustrating. Just over half the overs were lost to rain, and after gambling by putting New Zealand in, Joe Root had only three wickets to show for it. Tom Latham, with a compact unbeaten hundred, and Ross Taylor, with a hot-and-cold fifty, calmly assembled the partnership that won the day.
Root and Chris Silverwood had picked an XI with an eye on pub-quiz immortality – five seamers, no spinner, no regular keeper – but the performance was better than the cast list. Jofra Archer, who took no wickets, bowled as well as Chris Woakes, who took two, and would have got rid of Latham soon after lunch had Ben Stokes not dropped another expensive catch.
Today, Root will need to combine Archer’s fire with the wiles of Woakes and Stuart Broad, while hoping that there’s some swing for Sam Curran and that Stokes’s knee injury doesn’t accelerate his drift towards being a specialist batsman. All the New Zealanders have to do is serve up more of the same, and Latham’s last few Test hundreds have all gone past 150. It could be dull, but it’s unlikely to be as bad as David Warner v Pakistan.
Play starts half an hour early for the rest of the match, to claw back some of the lost overs, so I’ll see you at 9.30pm UK time, 10.30am in NZ. The forecast is clear for the first half of the day, dodgy thereafter.