England were left to regret an unquestioned decision against Devon Conway as the opener spearheaded New Zealand’s battered response on day two of the second Test at Edgbaston.
Conway enjoyed a memorable debut in Lourdes last week, scoring a good double century, and was once again frustrated to attack the house as he led the tourists to 130 to one in tea, in response to 303 tourists.
Conway wasn’t 78 at the break, but was avoided at 22 when he outsmarted Stewart Broad on the third slip and overpowered the judges on Zack Crowley’s low catch. Crowley seemed to have his fingers under the ball, but the soft signal on the court and third referee Michael Gove went in the batsman’s favour.
Broad was visibly annoyed with the officials, as he protested in a way that might attract the attention of the match official – who happens to be his father Chris – and the moment could be important. To make matters worse, Joe Root put Will Young in seventh only to watch him hit 40.
England had earlier lost the last three wickets for 45 innings, leaving Dan Lawrence stranded at 81 not out on his first Test century attempt. He had resumed playing at 67 after a remarkable effort on the first night, but found himself playing an unexpected secondary role for Mark Wood at first.
Number nine started with a well-targeted aggressive, with Trent Bolt and Matt Henry crashing for six limits in the first 20 minutes and producing a variety of good hits. Lawrence could barely catch a glimpse until Henry threw Wood for 41 years, but his odds dwindled when Brod was caught up behind him for nothing.
James Anderson’s arrival in 11th place brought a standing ovation, acknowledgment of his record-breaking 162nd ability rather than his striking ability, but although he stayed tall enough to see Lawrence at the best test result of his career, the Essex man was still short At nineteen out of three when Bolt outperformed Anderson.
Leading captain Tom Latham with the new ball, won a lightweight from around the wicket, and was nearing the end of his first spell when Conway’s shot hit Crowley. England were sure they had their man but as soon as the soft signal went against Brod, the writing was on the wall.
New Zealand had a more visible bit of luck after lunch when Ole Stone found the edge of third-placed Young and Root made an organizing opportunity onto the court. The pair didn’t get it wrong again, showing off flawless techniques as they secured a hit-free afternoon and added 87 throws.
Conway hit the half-century mark on 85 balls, and while he drove and drove well, it was his ballet shot that caught the eye as he hit the short ball again and again in style.