The second day started off with a blitz when Mark Wood used the long handle, but fell short of a well-deserving half-century. There on, Dan Lawrence started to take charge. However, he could just reach 81 before England were all-out for 303.
In reply, the stand-in skipper Tom Latham fell early. The last match double centurion, Conway looked in no trouble. Young played the supporting role in building a 122-run partnership for the second wicket. Conway, on the verge of another century, fell short by 20 runs. On the other hand, Young got to his first Test half-century. Experienced Ross Taylor was a bit scratchy to start with, but soon enough got back on track to frustrate the Englishmen. Just when everything was looking good, Lawrence’s golden arm provided the breakthrough in the last over of the day to give the hosts a glimmer of hope.
Another feisty day awaits as the second Test heads into the third day. How much will New Zealand look to build and how much is enough to seal a series is a big question ahead of day three.
For this Test to produce a result the first and foremost factor is the weather. Thankfully, for the rest of the Test match, the weather seems to be perfect. Patchy cloud cover with sunlight makes way for a dry day. The temperatures are expected to be around 22 degrees with gentle breeze.
Edgbaston on third day
On the forefront, New Zealand is in the driver’s seat. But, the record for the batting side on the third day at Edgbaston is not encouraging. In fact, this could be the deciding day. Since 2016, in the four Tests played prior to the second Test, all four have gone into the third day and the day has seen heaps of wickets falling. On average 12 wickets have fallen on the third day at a balls/dismissal ratio of 41.8 and runs/wicket ratio of 21.4. In this time frame, none of the other venues in England has seen more than 10 wickets fall on the third day.
20th ton in sight for Ross Taylor
In the absence of both the experienced players around him, Kane Williamson and BJ Watling, Taylor has a big task now. He was a bit scratchy to start his innings, especially against Stuart Broad who has troubled him in the past. When he was batting on 11, he was adjudged LBW but was reprieved through a review. Defying all odds, he is now batting on 46. He definitely will have his 20th ton in sight and the first one since 29th November 2019. Interestingly, that century as well came against England in Hamilton.
New ball around the corner
The one comforting thing for English bowlers at the start of day three is that they will have the new ball in another 3.3 overs. With a new batsman at the crease and a new day to start, England will look to capitalize a small advantage that they have. Since 2018, in Tests in England, Broad has been the Deimos (God of Terror) for batsmen on day three. Out of the 85 wickets he has bagged since 2018, 21 have come in the third day at a bowling strike rate of 29.4.
The Lead factor
Both the teams' concentration heading towards the third day will be the lead. In New Zealand’s point of view, they would need to bat the whole day to extend the lead up to 150. As for England, the new ball is their biggest hope. However, in Tests since 2016 at Edgbaston, two teams had taken a lead of 75+ runs in the second innings and still lost the match. Pakistan in 2016 had a lead of 103 and England in 2019 had a lead of 90 against Australia and both lost the match. New Zealand need to post enough on the board to extend the advantage.