29 November 2019 08:33
New Zealand's Tom Latham celebrates after scoring a century on day one of the second cricket test against England. The second-chance saloon has provided the Black Caps with the ideal elixir in their test series against England. New Zealand again took advantage over reprieves from umpires and players on Friday in Hamilton as Tom Latham led the way. At stumps - drawn early after heavy showers immediately after tea - the hosts were 173-3 from 54.3 overs after being put in to bat by England captain Joe Root at Seddon Park. SKY SPORT Black Caps opener Tom Latham scored his 11th test century in Hamilton v England.
Opener Latham in particular and veteran middle-order bat Ross Taylor took their chances after being given out initially to blunt England's attempts to square the series. READ MORE: * Live: NZ v England * Nervous 99 for Black Caps * Mitchell to make test debut * England 'do underestimate NZ' * Black Caps lose Boult and CDG * England coach to leave NZ tour * Cricket will miss NZ v England * Black Caps batsmen top charts * Neil Wagner in world top three For the visitors, it was a painful reminder of what happened in their first test defeat at Bay Oval. NZ wicketkeeper/batsman BJ Watling was dropped on 31 in his side's only innings, giving him a lifeline that he used to produce a match-changing double century to help NZ go one-up in the two-test series. GETTY IMAGES Tom Latham was prolific off his pads on his way to a century in Hamilton. This time Latham made them pay dearly for a dropped catch - by the same culprit, their Kiwi-born World Cup tormentor Ben Stokes - while he was also on the right side of two reviews. The 27-year-old left-hander was unbeaten on 101 from 164 balls, featuring 15 fours. It was his fourth test century in the past year - he had scores of 264 not out versus Sri Lanka in Wellington last December, 161 against Bangladesh at Seddon Park in February, and 154 versus Sri Lanka in Colombo in August. GETTY IMAGES England captain Joe Root reacts alongside team-mates after Stuart Broad's dismissal of Ross Taylor is overturned. "If I knew what it was I'd be trying to bottle that up as much as possible," Latham said about his string of big scores. "For me, it's just about trying to stick to a plan for long periods of time and that's probably what's given me success over the last year or so. I think sometimes you can get a little ahead of yourself and all of a sudden you're walking back to the pavilion." His conversion rate is to be cherished - the Cantabrian now has got to the century mark 11 times after going past 50, which he has done 26 times in tests. He brought up his century in up in Root's first over of spin for the day and the last over before tea, after reaching his half-century in the final over before lunch. That took him into a share of sixth spot in NZ's test century club alongside Nathan Astle and behind only current team-mates Kane Williamson (20), Taylor (18) and Martin Crowe (17), John Wright and Brendon McCullum (12). Taylor somehow survived an lbw review when on 25 as he and Latham added 116 for the third wicket. "I heard a couple of noises and said 'what do you think?' and he reviewed it and for us - I haven't seen any of the footage - it was a good review," Latham commented. Latham's innings was also his highest score in 20 tests against the four other teams currently in the top five test rankings. It didn't come without its share of incidents. Sky Sport NZ's Ross Taylor gets a reprieve after being given out against England. Latham was adjudged lbw to Chris Woakes when on 49 in the last over before lunch. He chose to review and won his case, with the television replay showing the ball narrowly pitched outside leg. He was on 66 when he edged Jofra Archer to the left of Stokes in the slips, who had the ball push through his hands, and then England chose to review a not out lbw decision to Woakes when the opener was on 79 - with the replay again showing the ball marginally landing outside a leg-stump line. In between, Latham played exquisitely off his pads and with exemplary timing. He was compact, balanced and gave the hosts the platform sought after Jeet Raval and Kane Williamson fell cheaply. Taylor, who strikes with cobra swiftness at any width outside off stump, made his 32nd test 50 - the fiftieth time past that mark, but fell next ball to Root's third catch. AP Ross Taylor made a half-century at Seddon Park. There were few terrors in the wicket or through the air after England won the toss - former England skipper Michael Vaughan was describing the pitch as "a road" before lunch. Root was going on past history as 21 of the 34 tests played at Seddon Park have been won by the team bowling first. That was in tune with England's selections, as they left specialist spinner Jack Leach out of their XI, bringing in Woakes while batsman Zak Crawley made his debut as wicketkeeper/batsman Jos Buttler was ruled out with injury, leaving youngster Ollie Pope as the stand-in glovesman. New Zealand chose Matt Henry over Lockie Ferguson as their replacement for the injured Trent Boult, fancy his swinging abilities with the new ball.