It was a day on which Joe Root and his men can be incredibly proud of their efforts to peg the visitors back who had threatened to bat them out of the match during the first hour of play.
England turned the tide with the ball after Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls added 42 runs to the overnight total in the first 11 overs. After James Anderson and Stuart Broad went through a wicketless first spell, a 500-plus total seemed on cards for New Zealand. But Mark Wood and once again, the debutant Ollie Robinson fed England with much needed breakthroughs which restricted the Kiwis to 378.
England exhibited a similar fightback with the bat. A jittery start is not an unforeseen prospect with the current England top three of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley (a combined experience of 53 Tests) and they were soon 18 for two against the new ball. However, Burns and Root weathered the storm with their unwavering focus to see England through to stumps without any further damage.
For New Zealand, Devon Conway added a few more records to his tally, the most significant of which was amassing the first double hundred by a debutant at Lord’s. While New Zealand’s innings went downhill, he continued to be firm. When he had the chance to add the cherry on top of the cake by carrying his bat, he was run out in a failed attempt to come back for the second.
The way he and Nicholls batted in the morning session, a big total was the writing on the wall for the hosts. The frustration in the England camp was apparent as they made a couple of lapses in the field and allowed the incumbent batting pair to add runs rather easily.
At the start of the day’s play, Wood in a pre-match interview with Sky that his body feels like it has been hit by a baby rhino after 17 overs on Day 1. But the way Wood steamed in, it suggested that the baby rhino also infused his spirit into him. He broke the Conway-Nicholls stand with an accurate bumper. Having settled into a rhythm, Nicholls went for a pull shot and a conflation of Wood's pace, bounce and around-the-wicket angle got him into a tangle which handed an easy catch to Robinson at fine-leg.
The subsequent 53 balls balls produced only 6 runs for New Zealand, at the cost of four wickets. BJ Watling, alongside Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner who deepens the Kiwi batting with their all-round abilities, contributed 1 run combined. Robinson combined adding two wickets to his tally - de Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson after lunch.
Robinson had the opportunity to claim a five-for but Broad made a mess of a pretty simple chance at mid-off to dismiss Tom Southee early.
At the point of ninth wicket in Southee, Conway was still 14 away from a dream double ton. But if he had any sort of nerves, they were soon settled down by Neil Wagner who creamed his third delivery through covers for a four. Next over, he thumped Broad over mid-off for a maximum. As Wagner wagged, the duo added 39 runs for the last wicket from only 29 deliveries.
The penultimate scoring shot of the partnership was Conway pulling Wood for a six to reach his double. Mind you, he completed his ton with a boundary through the same area.
Next over, Conway ran himself out in a rather carefree attempt of a second run. Root missed the first chance to dislodge the stumps after grabbing the ball but got them in the second. The replays showed Conway marginally out of crease as New Zealand folded for 378.
Jamieson and Southee struck once each in their new ball spell when Root and burns got their head down to steady the ship.
While Root bide his time, Burns, in an important game for his Test career, looked at his fluent best on way to his ninth Test fifty. He survived a terrible leave owing to a terrific decision by umpire Michael Gough but looked in complete control by each passing minute after that.
Both the batsmen saw the new ball through. Burns left 40 percent of his first 30 deliveries while Root shouldered arms to 30 percent of them. An off day for Wagner with the ball helped them tackle the Kiwi attack once the shine was taken off the new ball.
Burns doesn’t have a great record against short balls but he appeared at ease against Wagner, taking off 20 runs from 31 deliveries against him. Having reached his fifty in 90 balls, Burns fluency won’t be indicated on the scorecard as by the end of the day, his strike-rate dropped to 44.
Only 8 runs were scored off the last nine overs as Burns and Root focused on coming back tomorrow. Consequently, it was another wicketless last session in the Test match, bringing the contest to balance.