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England harbour hopes of big fightback to save New Zealand series

"Stuart Broad, England's chief wicket taker with four for 73, said there was little in the pitch to assist the bowler"

Tim Southee and Matt Henry removed both England openers as New Zealand reduced the tourists to 39-2 and took control of the second test by the close of play on the second day at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday.

New Zealand had been dismissed for 375 about an hour after tea and hold a 336-run lead heading into the third day of a match that England need to win to level the two-test series.

Rory Burns was on 24 at the close of play, having survived two dropped catches, with captain Joe Root on six and looking uncomfortable at the crease as he battles with a precipitous drop in form over the last year.

When I was sitting on zero I wasn’t that calm,” Mitchell said. “So it was nice to get a run and get started and the more time you spend out there the easier it does get.

But England bowled very well. They were very patient at times and built pressure and asked good questions.

“We just had to grind it out for a period there and I was lucky enough to get a few runs.”

All-rounder Mitchell, the son of former All Blacks coach and now England assistant rugby coach John Mitchell, was unruffled in his maiden Test performance.

New Zealand's last four wickets added a further 60 runs, with Broad finishing with figures of four for 73 and Chris Woakes three for 83.

It was slow going by the pair, but from New Zealand's viewpoint their innings lasted almost two days which left England with only a remote chance of winning the Test to square the series.




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