Rain frustrates England and New Zealand as third day of 1st Test washed out

By: AFP      Published: 10:21 PM, 4 Jun, 2021
Rain frustrates England and New Zealand as third day of 1st Test washed out

England and New Zealand were left kicking their heels in the Lord's Pavilion after rain prevented any play on Friday's third day of the first Test.

The pitch and square remained fully covered all day  and the umpires, following an inspection carried out while rain was still falling, announced at 4:31 pm (1531 GMT) that there was no prospect of play before the cut-off time for a re-start of 6:00 pm (1700 GMT).

Play is set to resume at 11:00 am (1000 GMT) on Saturday, with 98 overs -- as opposed to the standard 90 -- scheduled to be bowled in a bid to help compensate for Friday's lack of action.

The match is intriguingly poised, with England 111-2 in reply to New Zealand's first-innings 378 that featured debutant Devon Conway's 200 -- the highest score by a batsman making his Test bow in England.

England, 267 runs behind, slumped to 18-2 before ending the second day with Rory Burns 59 not out and England captain Joe Root 42 not out following an unbroken stand of 93.

New Zealand looked like batting England out of the game while South Africa-born opener Conway and fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls (61) were sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 174.

But they lost four wickets for just six runs as they slumped from 288-3 to 294-7, with Mark Wood, the fastest member of England's pace quartet, instigating a collapse.

Meanwhile, Test debutant paceman Ollie Robinson led England's attack with 4-75 in the first of this two-Test series.

This match at Lord's, the northwest London headquarters of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), marks the return of spectators to international cricket in England after last season's fixtures were all played behind closed doors because of coronavirus restrictions.

The second Test is due to take place at Birmingham's Edgbaston from June 10-14.

New Zealand will then remain in England to face India in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl.

Conway holds firm for New Zealand against England

Debutant opener Devon Conway's unbeaten fifty was the cornerstone of New Zealand's 144-3 at tea on the first day of the first Test against England at Lord's on Wednesday after senior batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor both fell cheaply.

Conway was 71 not out, with fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls unbeaten on 10, in a match that saw the return of spectators to international cricket in England.

New Zealand had the better of the morning session to be 85-1 at lunch after Williamson won the toss.

But James Anderson, equalling retired former captain Alastair Cook's England record of 161 Test appearances, struck in the first over after the interval to remove star batsman Williamson for 13 as the runs dried up.

And fast bowler Robinson, who'd earlier dismissed Tom Latham, then had the 37-year-old Taylor lbw for 14.

Latham and Conway made a steady against England new-ball greats Anderson and Stuart Broad after Williamson won the toss.

Conway cover-drove Broad for a boundary and it needed Robinson, one of four fast bowlers in an attack lacking a specialist spinner, to make the breakthrough when he got Latham to play on for 23.

Willamson is renowned for playing the ball late but four balls after lunch he arguably delayed too long when he played on to Anderson.

His exit gave Anderson, already England's most succesful bowler in Test history, his 615th wicket at this level.

And it meant the Lancashire swing king was now just seven shy of 1,000 wickets in all first-class cricket.

But the composed Conway completed an admirable fifty when he drove Broad for a a sixth four in 91 balls faced.

By contrast, Taylor fell to Robinson, one of two England debutant along with wicketkeeper James Bracey, when playing down the wrong line.

At tea, Robinson had fine figures of 2-25 in 11 overs.

England captain Joe Root bowled his occasional off-breaks, with left-arm spinner Jack Leach omitted, but got little response.

The crowd at the 'home of cricket' is limited to 6,500, after international matches during the 2020 English season were played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This was New Zealand's first match at Lord's since an agonising Super Over loss to England in the 2019 World Cup final.

The Black Caps, who after this two-match series face India in the inaugural World Test Championship final, were without Trent Boult after the left-arm quick was granted family time in New Zealand following his stint in the Indian Premier League.