Musings from the dead of night following the opening day at Lord's as the Black Caps make a strong start to the first test against England.
The opening act
It might sound impulsive to make value judgements based on the smallest of sample sizes but the Tom Latham-Devon Conway opening partnership has a ring of permanence about it.
The pair put on a relatively stress-free 58 together before the experienced Latham rather limply chopped on. Although they both stand on the same side of the bat, the contrasts in their game present different looks to the attack which make it hard to find the rhythm bowlers seek.
Latham leaves well, is compact and looks to punch each side of point off the back foot, while Conway is happy to drive through the covers early and will pull the short pull.
You will read a lot more about Conway's performance elsewhere, suffice to say here that if he doesn't want the opening job fulltime, then he did himself a wonderful disservice.
As a general rule new-ball bowlers, especially right-armers, prefer to bowl to right handers, so having southpaws at the top of the order will not hurt.
One slightly bum note, however: Latham has now gone 17 innings without a test century, equaling his second-longest drought.
He's not been badly out of form – he's scored five half centuries in that time and been dismissed in single figures just four times – but he's in a frustrating tweener run where he generally looks comfortable, then gets out.
A big one before the WTC final would be reassuring.
The performance of the England seam attack in the session between lunch and tea was world class.
The session scorecard read 59-2, but it really could have been so much better. Conway and Henry Nicholls, who scored at snail's pace by his standards, deserve enormous credit for getting through the rest of the session unscathed.
James Anderson dismissed Kane Williamson (13) with the first ball he faced after the break and then he and Stuart Broad tormented Ross Taylor as he eked out 14 off 38 inquisitions.
Those two were followed by the raw pace of Mark Wood, who bowled an insanely quick spell on a relatively unresponsive wicket. The Durham quick was consistently bowling faster than 150kp/h.
Completing the quartet was debutant Ollie Robinson who, as we like to say in this game, has a bit about him.
More specifically, he has a bit of Glenn McGrath about him. He's tall, bowls wicket-to-wicket and with enough hostility and just above medium pace to always remind you he's there. He eventually accounted for Taylor and could have had more.
You have to wonder why it has taken so long to pick the 27-year-old.
The payoff, however, for playing the quartet is there was no room for Jack Leach.
As Joe Root wheeled through some innocuous overs of offspin before tea, it looked like a decision that could come back to bite England in the third innings.
The one where Ross is found out
Excuse the clumsy Friends reference, but this was a tough day for one of the greats of our game. So much so that you suspect that even Taylor must be wondering whether he is starting to run out of road.
That's one score above 50 in his last 14 innings now and even though that's grim, it doesn't tell the full story.
The right-hander was battling so hard with his technique last night that it looked like he was in a wrestling match with his alter ego.
In the end he went out in exactly the manner he looked like he would be dismissed, with his head outside the line of the ball, playing around his front pad, missing and being trapped dead in front.
Bowlers are very obviously staying out of his "cutting" zone, denying him the width he feasts off. You don't compile the record he has without being brilliant and adaptable, but when you watch him bat like this, you cannot help but wonder where his next big score is coming from.
Mind you, we've said that about him in the past.