A double century to BJ Watling has put victory firmly in the Black Caps’ sights heading into the final day of the first cricket test against England in Mt Maunganui.
The wicketkeeper’s 205 runs helped the Black Caps to a total of 615-9 declared, which is their highest ever score against an English team. Watling was not alone in the milestone department, with Mitchell Santner hitting 126 - his highest test score.
The English bowling attack were expertly seen off by the pair, who put on 266 for the seventh wicket, which was also a record. Captain Kane Williamson pulled the pin on the innings just after the tea break, giving the Black Caps around 25 overs to make some inroads into the English second innings.
Watling’s double century now means he has scored 310 runs in his last two innings. He faced 473 balls at his time at the crease and hit 24 boundaries and a six. Santner faced 269 balls in his knock, hitting 11 fours and five sixes.
Their heroics lifted the Black Caps from a slightly precarious position yesterday, when they found themselves four down for 127 with the influential Williamson and Ross Taylor both dismissed.
Santner was finally caught by Ollie Pope off the bowling of Sam Curran, while Watling went down swinging and was caught behind off Jofra Archer. It was a long-awaited reward for the prolific Archer, whose time on Bay Oval was probably the first time in his short but entertaining career that has seen him pick up 22 wickets in only eight tests.
Santner was not done with his heroics before stumps, picking up three English wickets. Their score stands at 53 for three, and they will need to battle hard for a full day tomorrow to save the test.
NZ v England day four:
England first innings: 353 all out
Second innings: 55-3 (R Burns 31*, M Santner 3-6)
NZ first innings: 615-9 declared (B Watling 205, M Santner 126)