James Anderson strikes twice for England to vindicate Ben Stokes declaration
James Anderson made good on another enterprising declaration from Ben Stokes, snapping up two quick wickets before lunch as England cranked up the pressure on New Zealand in their series deciding second Test.
Stokes waved his side in at 435 for eight, ending the innings as soon as Joe Root passed 150, in a bid to make the most of the new ball either side of the break.
It proved an inspired call as Anderson claimed the big scalps of Devon Conway and Kane Williamson to leave the hosts clinging on at 12 for two.
The perfect start 🙌
🇳🇿 #NZvENG 🏴 pic.twitter.com/HU8ATmpOXk
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 25, 2023
While Root picked up exactly where he left off on the first evening, going from 101 to 153no, his partner in a game-changing stand of 302, Harry Brook, could not. He fell for a career-best 186, adding just two to his overnight score.
In all 132 runs and seven wickets came as a sold out Basin Reserve got plenty of entertainment.
Root made his intentions clear from the off, reverse ramping Tim Southee for six off his fourth delivery of the morning.
The stroke became a lightning rod of attention when it cost Root his wicket in Mount Maunganui last week, but his success rate with it is high and he has made it clear he plans to keep it in his arsenal. He played it twice more before lunch as well as a regular ramp over fine leg.
Moments later Brook perished in the manner he had scored the majority of his runs, hammering a powerful stroke down the ground, only for Matt Henry to intercept the ball and juggle a sharp one-handed catch.
Brook’s hopes of toppling father David’s family record of 210, made in the Airedale and Wharfedale League in 2001, will have to wait for another day but his status as a major force in Test cricket appears fixed after just six caps.
Stokes was next up, contributing the kind of frantic cameo that has become his stock in trade as captain. He lasted 28 balls, made 27 runs, hit five boundaries and could easily have been out three times.
His utter commitment to attacking cricket has undeniably freed up his team-mates, but the manner of his own departure – trying and failing to drill an awkward length ball from Neil Wagner over the infield – suggested an element of self-sacrifice.
Root was left to shepherd the tail when Ben Foakes over-balanced against Michael Bracewell’s spin and was stumped lying flat on the ground and he began to enjoy himself. He smashed Bracewell for six on the charge, then dished out similar treatment to Southee with the second new ball.
As soon as his 14th score of 150 or more was in the bag, the declaration came in time to get seven overs in.
Anderson needed just five balls to deliver the goods, shaping one away from the left-handed Conway and taking a thin edge that neither he nor wicketkeeper Foakes appeared to detect. But the slips were convinced and a DRS referral confirmed their suspicions.
Williamson was next to go, wafting lazily at Anderson to a ball that should have been left. The former Kiwi captain was gone for four, taking his series tally to 10 from three innings and giving the tourists a huge shot in the arm.