Tim Southee took six wickets but a painstaking hundred from England’s Rory Burns halted New Zealand‘s march towards victory in the first Test at Lord’s on Saturday. New Zealand were 62-2 in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day, a lead of 165 runs. Ollie Robinson, continuing an impressive on-field debut, dismissed both fellow newcomer Devon Conway, fresh from his first-innings 200, and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson for a return of 2-8 in nine overs. By then New Zealand, following Friday’s total washout, had damaged their hopes of going 1-0 up in this two-match series by twice reprieving Burns before the Surrey left-handed opener completed his third Test century.
Burns was finally last man out for 132 to give veteran paceman Southee figures of 6-43 in 25.1 overs as England, in danger of following-on at 140-6, reached 275 — still 103 runs adrift of New Zealand’s first-innings 378.
England are without the injured Ben Stokes, a dynamic run-scorer, and have opted against selecting two attacking batsmen in Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow after their stints in the Indian Premier League.
Williamson, however, is unlikely to make a declaration that could give England a chance to win ahead of both next week’s series climax at Edgbaston and New Zealand’s appearance in the inaugural World Test Championship final against India later this month.
England captain Joe Root fell for 42 to the first ball of Saturday’s play when he edged a fine delivery from the towering Kyle Jamieson to Ross Taylor at slip.
England then lost three wickets for no runs in 21 balls in a middle-order slump,as Southee removed Dan Lawrence and debutant James Bracey for two of the four ducks in the innings.
Burns, watching the collapse from the other end, had started a sunny day seemingly ideal for batting on 59 not out.
It took Burns a further 133 balls to score the 41 runs he required to reach one hundred.
England, however, were grateful for the grit that earned Burns a coveted place on the Lord’s honours board.
Burns also received a heartfelt round of applause in a match that marked the return of spectators to international cricket in England after last year’s fixtures were played behind closed doors because of coronavirus restrictions.
On 77, Burns ended up stranded yards down the pitch against left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, but wicket-keeper BJ Watling, on his last tour before retirement, missed the easy stumping.
Then, 12 shy of the century, Burns edged Neil Wagner only for second-slip Southee to drop the catch.
Robinson, who had led England’s attack with 4-75 on Wednesday only for that to be overshadowed by the re-emergence of his racist tweets, gave Burns sound support in a seventh-wicket stand of 63.
But the new ball brought Robinson’s downfall for 42 when he top-edged a hook off Southee to fine leg.
Burns was 91 not out when No 11 James Anderson came in to bat.
The pair shared an entertaining stand of 52 before Southee had Burns, in sight of batting through the innings, caught behind. That ended a stay of nearly eight hours in which he faced 297 balls and hit 16 fours and a six.
Robinson’s then had Conway playing on for 23 before, a ball after seeing an lbw reviewed in Williamson’s favour, he successfully challenged a not-out decision to have the star batsman leg before for just one.
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