New Zealand's first look at England's test attack didn't exactly go according to plan in Hamilton yesterday.

The New Zealand XI, playing a two-day lightweight game at Seddon Park to give pink ball practice for players from both teams ahead of the first test at Eden Park, starting next Thursday, were reduced to 30 for five.

However centuries from discarded test keeper Tom Blundell and tall Canterbury seamer Kyle Jamieson got them to 376 for nine.

Four of New Zealand's likely top six, plus experienced Martin Guptill, combined for 37 runs in a performance unlikely to gladden selectorial hearts.


Openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham (seven and 10 respectively) were followed by white ball star turn Guptill (two), lefthander Henry Nicholls (14) and Colin de Grandhomme (four).

So one argument will be that it doesn't mean much. The real business starts next week.

Then again, had they made a packet of runs against Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood, along with spinner Moeen Ali the line would have been far different.

One of the major outcomes of playing day-night tests - and there have now been eight of them since New Zealand and Australia kicked the concept off at Adelaide in December 2015 - is that the pink ball will swing more appreciably in the evening air.

That certainly happened at Adelaide, to the point where swing bowler Trent Boult came within a couple of balls of pulling off what would have been a staggering win for New Zealand.

It also prompted thoughts before the match of the-then New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum that the side batting first - New Zealand as it happened - would need to consider declaring an hour or so before stumps, around 8pm, to try and cash in on that perceived advantage, even if they didn't have as many runs as they might have wanted.

Yesterday's exercise must also have been hugely beneficial for Blundell.

He scored a century on test debut against the West Indies at the Basin Reserve before Christmas when BJ Watling was ruled out by a hip injury.

Another one yesterday won't do his confidence any harm, even if it was a practice exercise. He admitted it was satisfying to produce form in front of national coach, and selector, Mike Hesson.

''Yeah, it is. And especially in front of an international attack. There are some quality bowlers in there so it's pretty pleasing,'' he said.

Blundell had been advised a couple of weeks ago that if Watling, the longstanding test wicketkeeper, was fit for the first test he would return to the side. Blundell had no beef with that.

''That's totally understandable. He's got a great test record.''

Interestingly, Blundell reckoned ''the ball didn't really swing which was surprising, [I] thought it would swing more than it did. It was pretty straight up and down.''
There's no guarantees that will be the case at Eden Park.

But for the test batsmen who missed out yesterday, it wasn't a great look. Practice yes, but psychologically these events can matter. You can be sure the likes of Broad and Anderson will have taken encouragement.