New Zealand 303-2 (after day 2)
It was a case of back to reality for England on day two of the first Test at Lord's against New Zealand. After adding 35 runs to their overnight score to finish on 389 all out, they were unable to make many inroads into a solid-looking 'Black Caps' batting line-up when their bowlers took their turn. Missed chances didn't help, as the Kiwis had amassed a formidable 303-2 at the close in reply. They will resume on day three, only 86 behind their hosts and with Kane Williamson ominously unbeaten on 92 at the crease.
After the topsy-turvy nature of their tour of the Caribbean and the subsequent shenanigans by the ECB on their return, England fans seem to be witnessing a team in transition. New faces in the side and at the helm may explain partly why it all seems a bit of a struggle at present.
Moeen completed his half-century
The first day had promised better times ahead as England recovered from a disastrous start to accumulate a decent score. They couldn't reach 400 on first innings as perhaps they would have hoped, but 389 was still competitive. New Zealand removed their last three wickets in just over one hour of play, Moeen Ali's completion of his half-century being the notable moment for the home team. Matt Henry and Trent Boult finished with four wickets apiece, both narrowly missing a place on the illustrious honours board as a result.
Century stand for openers
The visitors set about reducing their arrears, as openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill both passed their half-centuries en route to an opening stand of 148. England briefly stemmed the tide by removing both players in quick succession. First Latham was trapped LBW by Moeen for 59 and then his partner Guptill fell on 70. Stuart Broad having Gary Ballance to thank for taking the catch.
No let up by Kiwis
Williamson and Ross Taylor took over as England's chief tormentors to push the Kiwis beyond the 300 mark, as both men compiled an unbeaten stand of 155 for the third wicket. Williamson seems destined to be the first man in the match to reach three figures, after Ben Stokes and Joe Root came so close for England. Taylor on 47 may have similar thoughts in mind in due course.
Alastair Cook's men may have been slightly unfortunate not to have more to show for their efforts in the field earlier in the day. Debutant Durham bowler Mark Wood thought he had his first Test wicket, only for Guptill to be reprieved on 24 because of a no-ball decision, after being literally 'caught out'. Ian Bell will be kicking himself for spilling Latham's offering of a catch on 21. Both wickets could have kept New Zealand better in check on the scoreboard.
Long day ahead #CricketWith the pitch seemingly having little to worry the batsmen, it could be a long third day for England in the field once more. Early wickets may be their main hope, especially if they can somehow remove Williamson and Taylor quickly. However, with skipper Brendon McCullum due in next to add even more firepower, their lead could soon evaporate into the memory banks.