|Second Test, Christchurch (Hagley Oval), day two:|
|England 307: Bairstow 101, Wood 52, Southee 6-62, Boult 4-87|
|New Zealand 192-6: Watling 77 not out, De Grandhomme 72, Broad 4-38|
|New Zealand trail by 115 runs, with four wickets remaining|
New Zealand recovered from a dreadful start to frustrate England before the tourists struck late on day two of the second Test in Christchurch.
Jonny Bairstow converted his overnight 97 not out into his fifth Test century before England were bowled out for 307.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad reduced the hosts to 36-5 in reply.
BJ Watling (77 not out) and Colin de Grandhomme (72) fought back in a superb stand of 142 before the impressive Broad returned to remove De Grandhomme.
Bad light stopped play with New Zealand, who lead the two-match series 1-0, closing on 192-6, trailing by 115 runs.
Day three will start at 23:30 BST on Saturday.
Hunting in pairs
Anderson and Broad became the first pair to open the bowling 150 times together in Tests, extending their own record – Pakistan greats Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are next on 89.
England’s top two leading wicket-takers combined brilliantly to mark that shared milestone, bowling a fuller length and finding enough movement to rip through the New Zealand top order.
Broad bowled with particular menace, striking in his first over as Tom Latham fell for a three-ball duck, drawn into a loose drive and edging behind to Bairstow.
He then dismissed Ross Taylor for the 10th time in Tests, the Kiwi slashing at one that moved late to find Alastair Cook at first slip, before Broad produced a terrific inswinger to the left-handed Henry Nicholls, who departed lbw for a duck after England successfully reviewed.
At the other end, Anderson tormented Jeet Raval, regularly beating the bat before duly forcing the opener to nick off, with the hosts scraping through to 32-4 at lunch.
Anderson dismissed Kane Williamson for 22 shortly after the restart, the in-form captain chasing one down leg and getting a fine edge through to Bairstow.
England lost their way with a series of ineffective plans against Watling and De Grandhomme, but Broad wisely returned to pitching it up, getting the old ball to nip away and catch the outside edge of De Grandhomme’s bat as it zipped through to Bairstow.
It took Broad to 406 Test wickets, passing Curtly Ambrose into 14th in the all-time list, in a match that looks set to be defined by the supreme opening bowlers on each side.
Just as when the tourists were bowled out for 58 at Auckland, Tim Southee (6-62) and Trent Boult (4-87) ended with all 10 England wickets, ensuring they, Broad and Anderson have taken all 16 wickets to fall in the match so far.
Gritty batting, questionable tactics
Bairstow reached his hundred in sensible singles but had to hit more expansively once Jack Leach was caught behind for 16 and holed out to fly slip for 101 as England added 17 runs to their overnight total.
De Grandhomme took the opposite approach, cracking a series of fluent pull shots for four to race to 31 off 33 balls before playing more patiently in bringing up his fifty off 75 balls.
Watling was troubled by the short ball early in his innings and took a vicious blow on the side of his helmet from a Mark Wood bouncer, but the New Zealand keeper showed admirable grit and an increasing ability to duck and weave away from danger to bring up his fifty off 125 balls.
The duo finished with a record sixth-wicket partnership for New Zealand against England, but they were aided by some questionable decisions by captain Joe Root.
“England’s tactics got De Grandhomme and Watling in – at one point, De Grandhomme had only been in for two minutes and we had four men out on the leg side,” said former England spinner Graeme Swann on Test Match Special.
England were perhaps too quick to depart from the full length that had put New Zealand into the mire as Wood sent down countless short balls from round the wicket – although Watling looked circumspect at first, too few bouncers were well-directed enough and De Grandhomme hit anything short with aplomb.
“We talked as a group about wanting to attack the knee roll and get the brand new ball a touch fuller because we know it flattens out. We exposed the conditions really nicely but we could have had a couple more,” said Broad.
“Joe’s keen for us, as a bowling unit, to push up on length a little bit. We do that really well in England. But we also used some different tactics.
“One of those was the short-pitched ball our batting unit have faced a lot of and we’ve maybe not done a huge amount. We used that really well. If you set the field well you can restrict the economy rate and create chances.”
The tourists’ attack looked more threatening when they returned to the fuller length later on, with Ben Stokes – bowling for the first time in Tests since September after a back injury restricted him to batting in Auckland – looking threatening when he pitched it up despite a limited run up.
On debut, slow left-arm spinner Leach showed he was adept at holding down an end and got several balls to bite past the outside edge but frequently had to bowl to an overly defensive field.
‘The best I’ve felt for a while’ – reaction
England bowler Stuart Broad, who took 4-38, on Test Match Special: “It’s the best I’ve felt for a while. I’ve been working really hard on my action. I think that really showed. I felt strong at the crease, I had good pace, my wrist was in a really good position and I got the ball moving.”
Former England spinner Graeme Swann on TMS: “I was pleased with the way Leach bowled, but disappointed with how little patience England had in the middle period. They were too quick to go to Plan B.
“It didn’t surprise me that Stokes caused problems when he came on – because he’s injured, he can’t just race in and bang it in. He just had to bowl the same lengths that Broad and Anderson did – Stuart was back to his best today.”
Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney on TMS: “You should be hitting middle and off every ball. A better way to go is to bowl straighter and have something like a 5-4 field.
“The short-pitched bowling is worth a crack for a couple of overs, but it’s been over-done today. New Zealand were the same – they went on it for too long.”