Middle-order batsman Dean Brownlie has enhanced his chances of retention for the first test against England with a sound display on the opening day of New Zealand's three-day tour match against Derbyshire.
Brownlie made 71 as part of New Zealand's 289 for five declared. He shared a 116-run fifth wicket stand with B-J Watling (77) after the visitors teetered at 126 for four with stand-in captain Kane Williamson's dismissal for 43. Martin Guptill was back at the county where he has spent time the last couple of seasons. He edged down the leg side for 25. Only injury seems likely to gift him a test place at Lord's Thursday week. Early movement helped dispatch Peter Fulton for 21 and Hamish Rutherford for 13.
Derbyshire were 24 for one at stumps. Neil Wagner bowled opener Chesney Hughes to close the day.
New Zealand rested Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor, as expected, after their arrival from the Indian Premier League, although both might have welcomed a return to the first-class format after facing Twenty20 strike rate pressure and under-employment at their respective franchises.
More surprising were the omissions of Tim Southee and Trent Boult who will instead play the England Lions later this week. Both are understood to be fit and could have benefitted from match as opposed to net practice with the English Duke ball. New Zealand opted for a pace attack of Mark Gillespie, Doug Bracewell and Wagner with Bruce Martin present for potential spin. After a tenacious home series against England, Wagner deserves to return to the test line-up. Gillespie and Bracewell will vie for another possible place, just in case New Zealand opt for four pace bowlers should the Lord's wicket have an overly verdant tinge.
Cricinfo reported England video analyst Gemma Broad was on hand with a camera. That's in response to only three of the likely New Zealand team previously playing tests in England. At least it means the New Zealanders are being taken seriously, even if Derbyshire presented an attack described as "green as the outfield". Two players - Alasdair Evans and Matt Higginbottom - had less than six first-class matches between them and spinner Peter Burgoyne had 10 first-class dismissals from seven matches. Left-armer Mark Fottitt was the best of the bowlers, taking four for 65.