Trent Boult has the tendency to run through the tail in no time and thus he did. However, one thing he was perhaps not mentally prepared for was the way Mark Wood took the attack on him. Sure-footed in his movement and clear in his approach, Wood played an enterprising knock of 41 runs that involved as many as seven classy boundaries to help England to a much-better position that anyone would’ve envisioned after the second session collapse on Day 1.
Anything short or full, England seized the opportunity. They struck at 150 when the ball was pitched full and at 130 when bowled short. It was only when Boult realized their plan and pulled the length back, England batters suddenly suffered an uncomfortable conundrum and were bundled out for 303 in the first innings. Boult accounted for four of them in total while his new-ball partner Matt Henry had three to his name.
All of that, however, seemed pale in front of Stuart Broad’s inducker from the round the wicket angle. Skipper Tom Latham, despite moving forward to block the seamer, was beaten on the inside edge and caught plumb in front. Though many English fans would’ve believed it as a teaser of things to come, debutant Will Young used all his luck to frustrate the hosts alongside Devon Conway. To add insult to injury, Joe Root spilled a straightforward catch at slip off Olly Stone after Conway had a reprieve courtesy of Zak Crawley.
Some classy off-drives were followed by backfoot punches. None was spared as the duo added runs by a tickle before Young broke free with a couple of fours against Stone. Apart from that brief period in the afternoon session, Conway was the aggressor. Especially on the off-side, the left-hander was pretty fluent, scoring 37 runs off 56 balls. New Zealand reached 130/1 at Tea, leaving England a lot of introspection to do in the final session of the Day.
The break did the trick for the Englishmen as Conway played an absolutely unnecessary shot off Broad to be dismissed for 80. Young, on the other hand, continued to play according to the merit of the ball in the company of Ross Taylor. Veteran No.4 was fighting his own demons in the red-ball Test and needed to approach the innings with patience.
To break the shackle, Root instantly employed Wood to target the duo with pace but Stone released the pressure with his regular dose of half volleys and short ones. Young, in particular, was happy to cream them all around and they never had to take chances against any other bowler - not even against Joe Root. Taylor was happy to play the second fiddle all this while before he took off against Stone with two fours in a single over.
In the last over of the day, Daniel Lawrence, who was brought in as a short change to wrap up the day, invited Young to charge down the track to defend his flighted delivery. But Young managed an inside edge which deflected off his pads to give Ollie Pope a simple catch at Short leg as the Kiwis ended the day at a dominating position of 229/3 with Taylor batting on 46.