LONDON - Rory Burns hit a gutsy century to help England recover from a collapse on the fourth day of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on Saturday.
England were in danger of following on but Burns’s 132 meant they avoided that embarrassment, although a total of 275 all out was still 103 adrift of New Zealand’s first-innings 378 that featured debutant opener Devon Conway’s remarkable 200. Veteran paceman Tim Southee led New Zealand’s attack with 6-43 in 25.1 overs to secure yet another place on the Lord’s honours board after his 10-wicket haul in 2013. But the Black Caps would have been in an even stronger position had they not reprieved Burns on 77 and 88 in the first of this two-match series.
Burns was still nine runs shy of his third test century when he was joined by last man James Anderson. But their entertaining stand of 52 delayed the tea interval before Southee had Burns, in sight of batting for the whole innings, caught behind to end a stay of nearly eight hours that saw the Surrey left-handed opener face 297 balls including 16 fours and a six. Anderson’s presence encouraged Burns, 91 not out when joined by the No 11, to go for his shots, including an extravagant slog-swept six off left-arm quick Neil Wagner.
New Zealand, after the whole of Friday’s third day had been washed out, dismissed England captain Joe Root with the very first ball of the day when he edged a fine delivery from the towering Kyle Jamieson to Ross Taylor at slip. England lost three wickets for no runs in 21 balls during a middle-order slump.
Burns, watching the collapse from the other end, had started the day on 59 not out. It him a further 133 balls to score the 41 runs he required to get to a hundred but England were grateful for his resilience. New Zealand were without left-arm spearhead Trent Boult, who only arrived in England on Friday following family leave. But on a sunny day, seemingly ideal for batting, the World Test Championship finalists still took four wickets in the morning session with Southee removing Dan Lawrence and debutant wicketkeeper James Bracey for ducks.
Burns had made 77 when he was stranded yards down the pitch by left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner only for wicketkeeper BJ Watling, on his last tour before retirement, to miss the routine stumping. That reprieve came shortly before the arrival of the new ball. Ollie Robinson, who had led England’s attack with 4-75 on Wednesday only for his debut to be overshadowed by the re-emergence of racist tweets, gave Burns valuable support during a seventh-wicket stand of 63.
But the new ball brought about his downfall for 42, when he top-edged a hook off Southee to deep fine leg. Burns was then missed again when, 12 runs shy of a century, he edged Wagner only for Southee to drop the second-slip chance.
NEW ZEALAND 314/7 (D Conway 200, H Nicholls 61, O Robinson 4/75, M. Wood 3/81) against ENGLAND 275/10 (Rory Burns 132, Joe Root 42, Ollie Robinson 42, Tim Southee 6-43, Kyle Jamieson 3/85).