Cap: England pacer Sam Curran checks on a security guard struck on the head by the ball when it was hit for six during the second Test match against New Zealand on Saturday. -Collected.
All-rounder Daryl Mitchell, who admits cheering when England beat New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup last month, made 73 in his first test innings for New Zealand on Saturday to put it in a strong position after the second day of the second cricket test against England.
Mitchell is the son for former All Blacks player and later head coach John Mitchell, who is the defense coach of the England rugby team. For that reason, the 28-year-old found his sympathies divided when New Zealand and England met in the World Cup semifinals in Japan. He put family ahead of patriotism and cheered England's 19-7 win.
There were no conflicting allegiances Saturday when Mitchell made his test debut. He shared a 124-run sixth-wicket partnership with wicketkeeper B.J. Watling which helped New Zealand reach 375 as it batted first after winning the toss.
At stumps England was 39-2 after 18 overs. Dom Sibley (4) and Joe Denly (4) were dismissed inside the first 10 overs, leaving Rory Burns and out-of-form captain Joe Root to battle to stumps against an exacting New Zealand attack.
Burns was dropped twice, by Ross Taylor at slip off Matt Henry when he was 11 and by Jeet Raval at mid-wicket off Tim Southee when he was 20, but he survived at 24 not out to bat again Sunday. Root is under pressure both for his own lack of form and England's and he toughed it out. to stumps when he was on four.
"I guess if you said at the start of the game that I'd get 70 in the first innings I'd defnitely take it," Mitchell said. "It's nice to contribute, put some runs on the board and give the boys something to bowl to. To be able to put on the black cap was special. You're not human if you're not nervous and it was great to get that first run away and build from there."
The early part of the second day belonged to England who, after New Zealand resumed at 173-3, removed both overnight batsmen, Tom Latham for 105 and Henry Nicholls for 9, within nine overs. That brought Mitchell out for his test debut beside his North Districts provincial teammate B.J. Watling, who scored 205 in New Zealand's only innings of the first test to lay the foundation for its win by an innings and 65 runs.
The pair assembled a partnership which occupied all but nine overs of the first session and all but one ball of the second. Watling was out for 55 to the last ball before tea after he and Mitchell had defied the England attack for 53 overs and lifted New Zealand from 191-5 to 315-6, a strong position after having been sent in. New Zealand resumed at 173-3 after the shortened first day in which almost all of the final session was lost to rain.
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