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Henry strikes as England collapse against New Zealand

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Birmingham, United Kingdom: Matt Henry marked his return to New Zealand duty by striking twice as England lost three quick wickets after lunch on the first day of the second and final Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.


England had made sedate progress against a much-changed Blackcaps attack to be 72-0 shortly after lunch.


But they then lost three wickets for 13 runs to be 85-3, with England captain Joe Root out for just four.


Henry, one of an exceptional six changes to the New Zealand side that played in the drawn first Test at Lord’s, started had Dom Sibley, trying to leave an away-swinger, caught behind for 35.


England’s 72-1 became 73-2 when Zak Crawley’s miserable run of form continued with a duck, the batsman caught in the slips after fishing outside off stump against Neil Wagner — the only surviving member of the tourists’ attack from Lord’s.


It was Crawley’s ninth single-figure score in 11 Test innings since his stunning 267 against Pakistan last year.


Henry then captured the prize wicket of key batsman Root, caught behind off an excellent outswinger that moved late.


One consolation for England was that opener Rory Burns, who made a hundred at Lord’s last week, went on to complete a 141-ball fifty.


Root had won the toss and batted despite overcast conditions that appeared to favour his attack, once again without a specialist spinner.


New Zealand had to make three injury-enforced changes, with captain and key batsman Kane Williamson (elbow), spinner Mitchell Santner (cut finger) and BJ Watling (sore back) all missing from the side.


Their places were taken by Will Young, Ajaz Patel and Tom Blundell respectively.


But veteran paceman Tim Southee — the player Henry replaced — all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme and towering paceman Kyle Jamieson were all rested ahead of New Zealand’s appearance in next week’s inaugural World Test Championship final against India at Southampton.


Experienced left-arm seamer Trent Boult was back in the team after family leave, with Tom Latham leading New Zealand in Williamson’s absence.


Meanwhile, James Anderson’s 162nd appearance saw him become England’s most-capped Test player, breaking the record he had shared with retired former captain Alastair Cook.


England made one change, with fast bowler Olly Stone replacing Ollie Robinson who, following a successful on-field Test debut at Lord’s, was suspended from international cricket after the emergence of historic racist and sexist Twitter posts.


Despite the furore over Robinson’s tweets, both teams again stood for a ‘moment of unity’ before play designed to show their opposition to discrimination within cricket.


And they were roared on to the field by a crowd of some 17,000 — two-thirds of Edgbaston’s capacity — as part of the British Government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions.


— AFP


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