Young (82), Conway (80) frustrate slippery England
A dropped catch and a questionable umpiring decision proved costly for England on a frustrating second day of the deciding Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston.
Captain Joe Root put down a chance off Will Young when he had only seven, with the New Zealand number three eventually falling for 82 to what proved to be the final ball of the day.
Devon Conway could have been given out on 22, only for the umpires to adjudge the ball had not carried to third slip Zak Crawley. Conway went on to make 80.
It ultimately meant New Zealand were able to reach 229-3, trailing by 74.
The hosts moved from their overnight 258-7 to 303 all out thanks mainly to Mark Wood’s swashbuckling 41.
England’s last three wickets fell for 15 runs as Dan Lawrence was stranded on 81 and denied the opportunity of a maiden Test hundred.
England teetering on the edge
This was New Zealand’s day, one on which they put England’s batting into context.
The tourists patiently absorbed the England attack, gradually moving towards what should be a first-innings lead. The crowd tried to rally Root’s side, but even the Hollies Stand lacked the energy of the first day.
England have grounds to be disgruntled about the decision over the Crawley catch – replays suggested that he had his fingers under the ball.
However, that cannot mask the fact they squandered the opportunity to bat first on a flat pitch.
In addition, the decision to omit left-arm spinner Jack Leach in favour of an all-pace attack is looking increasingly like a mistake. Root was bowling his part-time off-breaks only 26 overs into the New Zealand innings.
England are not out of this match, but they are teetering. Lawrence, with his first Test wicket, was the unlikely source of the late bonus that opens up an end for the second new ball due early on Saturday.
They must take advantage, then put in an improved batting display. (BBC Sport)