New Zealand Make England Pay on the Fourth Day
Cricket - New Zealand v England - First Test - Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand - November 24, 2019 New Zealand's Mitchell Santner and BJ Watling celebrate the wicket of England's Rory Burns REUTERS/Ross Setford X90202

New Zealand made sure they avoided defeat against England during the fourth day of their first Test match against England.

BJ Watling and Mitch Santner enjoyed a record breaking Sunday as they put on the highest ever seventh wicket stand for the Black Caps, while both players made individual bests. Watling faced the most balls ever by a New Zealand wicketkeeper, while his partner faced the most balls ever by a number eight.

Watling ended the day on 205, while Santner made his debut test hundred and will cherish his 126 forever. Santner was the first to go as Sam Curran had the left-arm spinner caught on the boundary – a wicket that was 73.2 overs in the making.

England toiled in the field for a tremendous amount of time and the bowling figures did not make for pretty reading. Jofra Archer bowled 42 overs, Jack Leach 47. The increasingly tired looking Stuart Broad peddled down 33 and even Joe Root was forced to turn his arm over for 18.

With 3/119 Curran was the pick of the lot, while Broad toiled for all that time and didn’t manage to claim a single scalp as New Zealand declared on 615/9 with a lead of 262.

In reply, Santner continued his excellent game by picking up 3/6 from 8.4 overs. Debutant Dom Sibley fell for 12 off 62 balls, Rory Burns joined him for 31 while nightwatchman Leach got a 12 ball duck as Santner twirled his way to another pole.

That means England are still 207 runs behind the formidable NZ total and have to bat all day tomorrow if they want to avoid defeat in the first test. It would take something remarkable to earn themselves a draw, and they must apply the same grit and determination that Watling and Santner did if they are to have any hope.

Russell hughes
Sports Pundit staff writer @rusty_hughes
I’m a cricket, rugby union and football writer based in Wellington but with one foot in South Africa and England

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