Robinson lets bowling do talking as England’s pep proves too much for all but Conway

New Zealand 378 all out (Conway 200, Nicholls 61; Robinson 4-75, Wood 3-81)

England 111-2 (Burns 59*, Root 42*)

For a tantalising period, records aplenty were on the cards at Lord’s today. New Zealand debutant Devon Conway was in reach of his double ton and just beyond that lay the highest ever score for a New Zealander on debut. For good measure, there was also the chance to be only the third New Zealand opener ever to carry their bat, Glenn Turner and more recently Tom Latham having blazed that trail.

Meanwhile, Ollie Robinson, one of two England debutants, had four wickets and must have been hoping that it might yield a five-fir and the chance for his bowling to do the talking rather than his historic juvenile tweeting and the subsequent reading of statements prepared by ECB lawyers and the PR department.

Conway got to his two hundred hooking the venerable Jimmy Anderson for six. How’s that for style? Alas in the next over, he looked to turn a one into a second from deep mid-wicket and was run out by an almost imperceptible margin. Joe Root gathered and missed the stumps with his first swing of the arms, but dislodged the bails in the nick of time as they swung back.

Nevertheless, the superb Conway finished on exactly 200, just a shade behind Mathew Sinclair’s debut 214 vs West Indies in 1999. He is now also the seventh highest scorer on Test match debut, the record in that department held by Tip Foster with his 287 for England versus Australia in Sydney back in 1903. Alas, following in the bat-carrying footsteps of Augustus Bernard Tancred and those who succeeded him, eluded Conway. As indeed did the five-fir for Robinson, but his four for 75 showed ample promise.

To put Conway’s efforts into further context, the next highest scorer for New Zealand was 61 by Henry Nicholls, but after that it was bits and pieces, with Wagner putting the wag in wagging tail with a hard-hitting but stylish 25 not out.

England will have been delighted, but then ultimately perhaps disappointed. Having let New Zealand get right on top on day one, they barely bowled a bad ball for much of today, reducing New Zealand to 294 for 7 and then 317 for 8. Yesterday’s talk of 500 for the visitors proved unfounded, but nonetheless, 378 was a heavier toll than England would have hoped for once wickets began to fall.

Robinson claimed the best figures, whilst Wood bowled with pep and aggression to claim three for 81 and Anderson claimed one more today when a dangerous looking Tim Southee edged into James Bracey’s gloves to give him his first Test catch. Broad laboured without success. Does he need to be fired up by first these days as exclusion seems to bring out his best?

A score of 378 was somewhat teasing. Having won the toss, it seems likely, looking at tomorrow’s weather forecast, that New Zealand may have enjoyed the best batting day yesterday as cloud cover started to close in a little today.

England certainly made a shaky start, losing Dom Sibley for an early duck. At 6ft 8in, it might be all too easy to expect Kyle Jamieson to always get awkward bounce, but he has an extremely effective fuller ball too and it was enough to send a rather wooden Sibley back to the Pavilion. Despite the batsman’s review, it always looked as though Richard Kettleborough’s judgment was spot on as his finger went up, even if impact and ball tracking both showed umpire’s call.

When Zak Crawley edged a loose drive off Southee to Watling for just two, the portents looked ominous for England. As senior statesmen, with an inexperienced batting line-up to follow, Root and Burns will have been very conscious of their responsibility and they delivered in fine style. Burns was effective if rarely flamboyant in reaching 59 by the close and Root watchful on 42, both dealing with the best that Southee, Jamieson, and Wagner could deliver, supported by the probing but placid Colin de Grandhomme wobblers.

Mitchell Santner bowled three overs for 14, but did get some prodigious turn and bounce that troubled both batsmen. Whether England will regret having just Root as their frontline spinner is yet to be seen.

The game is delicately and intriguingly poised. England, on 111 for two, are 276 runs behind. Early wickets in dodgy weather tomorrow would make that seem a long way off.