Tom Latham’s purple patch in Tests continued as he withstood England’s battery of seamers to lift New Zealand to 173 for three on a truncated opening day at Hamilton.
Latham capitalised on being dropped on 66 to register his fifth century in his last 10 Test innings and was unbeaten on 101 by the time an afternoon thunderstorm led to play being halted after 54.3 overs.
England were therefore unable to make sufficient use of choosing to bowl first in the second Test at Seddon Park, where the decision to omit Jack Leach in favour of Chris Woakes has left them without a frontline spinner.
Woakes took two for 41 on his recall, having been left out of the innings-and-65-run defeat in Mount Maunganui which means this Test is a must-win if England are to square the series in their final obligation of this tour.
Big Ben decision
England’s five-man seam attack may be four for the remainder of this Test after Ben Stokes injured his left knee during a two-over spell in the afternoon session. The all-rounder will be assessed before any decision is taken on whether he is able to bowl in the rest of the innings. With less than four weeks until the Test series in South Africa starts, it is unlikely England will take any risks with such an important player.
Quote of the day
Former England batsman Mark Butcher raged on Sky Sports at England selecting Ollie Pope as wicketkeeper as well as the decision to omit slow left-armer Jack Leach as the tourists went with a frontline seam attack.
Have faith in Pope
Ask a county cricket fan who is among the most promising batsmen in the country and the chances are Pope will top the list. Ask them who is the best wicketkeeper and the likelihood of Pope being in the top five, even the top 10, is minimal. However, his understated display here after replacing the stricken Jos Buttler should go a long way to silencing the moaners. This was only the sixth time in 34 first-class matches Pope had been behind the stumps but the only byes he yielded came after a Jofra Archer bouncer that a number of specialists would not have gathered.
Ross Taylor contributed 53 but was questionably reprieved on 25 by third umpire Bruce Oxenford. Stuart Broad was already in mid-celebration before the finger went up after Taylor had played all around a straight delivery and was rapped on the front pad. After some hesitation, Taylor sent the decision upstairs and, while there was a spike on Snicko, the fact it came after the ball had passed the bat led to some debate as to whether there was enough evidence to overturn the decision. The only man who matters thought there was and Taylor resumed his innings.
November 30: New Zealand v England, day two of the second Test at Hamilton, where the tourists will be hoping for an early burst of wickets.