Southee and openers lead New Zealand fightback in second Test against England

By Sports Desk February 26, 2023

New Zealand produced strong resistance on day three of the second Test against England in Wellington but remain 24 runs behind with seven wickets in hand at stumps on Sunday.

England enforced the follow-on after bowling out the Black Caps in the first session, with the hosts having resumed at 138-7 following the tourists' first innings score of 435-8 declared.

New Zealand openers Tom Latham (83) and Devon Conway (61) batted through 19 overs to lunch and then through the entire second session to bring the contest back to life.

But the pair both lost their wickets to spin in the final session along with Will Young for 8 as New Zealand reached stumps 202-3, still behind by 24 runs.

Kane Williamson (25 not out) and Henry Nicholls (18 not out) will resume at the crease on day four, hoping to build a sizeable lead to help New Zealand have a shot at a series-levelling victory in the two-game Test series.

Earlier, Tim Southee smashed 73 from 49 balls to rescue New Zealand from a perilous state in their first innings, combining with Tom Blundell (38) for a 98-run eighth-wicket stand.

Southee's knock included six sixes and five fours, narrowing the gap on England's first innings score after Jimmy Anderson had decimated the batting line-up on day two.

Stuart Broad (4-61) claimed all three of the remaining first-innings wicket to hold a 226-run first-innings lead, before captain Ben Stokes opted to enforce the follow on, although he may have been regretting that with Latham and Conway putting on 149 runs for the first wicket.

Jack Leach dropped a tough one-handed caught-and-bowled chance from Latham on 62, before he got Conway caught from an inside edge by Ollie Pope at short leg.

Three overs later Joe Root's part-time spin trapped Latham lbw, with the shout holding up despite a review from the batsman.

Leach bowled Young cheaply, while he had Nicholls dropped by Pope at short leg on 4, before he and Williamson got through to stumps.

Williamson moves within NZ history

Kane Williamson needs only four runs on Monday to become New Zealand's outright all-time Test leading run scorer. Williamson moved to 7680 runs with his unbeaten 25, within three of Ross Taylor's record of 7683.

Taylor played 112 Tests to reach that mark, while 32-year-old Williamson has only needed 92 games. Stephen Fleming is third on the list with 7172 runs from 111 Tests.

Southee into top 10 for most sixes

New Zealand captain Southee is known for his bowling exploits but his swashbuckling knock included six maximums that saw him move equal 10th on the all-time list for most sixes in Test cricket alongside Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hayden.

Southee, whose highest Test score is 77 not out, has 82 Test sixes, with the record held by opposition skipper Stokes at 109. Opposition coach and former teammate Brendon McCullum is second on the list with 107.

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