Niall Anderson delves into all the talking points from day two of the first cricket test between New Zealand and England.
Conway's record innings
Behold: A comprehensive yet still probably incomplete list of where Devon Conway's fabulous double century features in the record books.
• The highest score on debut for any player at Lord's
• The highest score on debut for any player in England
• The second highest score on debut by a New Zealander (behind Mathew Sinclair)
• The seventh highest score by any player on debut
• The longest innings (by time) by a New Zealander in England
• The second double century by a New Zealander in England (after Martin Donnelly's 206)
• The highest score in England by a visiting opener since 2003
• The 200th player in test history – and 17th New Zealander - to score a double century
Conway also fell one wicket short of setting several records for carrying his bat, with no player having done so in their first test innings, and only three in their first test.
Return of the collapse
Welcome to the Black Caps test team, Devon. This stuff happens every now and again.
From 288-3, the Black Caps slumped to 294-7, with Mark Wood picking up three rapid wickets in a superb spell that doubled as his best test performance on English soil.
Curiously, the collapse occurred in what is usually a strength for New Zealand, with their number six-eight batsmen having produced the highest average of any test nation over the past two years. But with BJ Watling struggling for form, Colin de Grandhomme returning from injury and Mitchell Santner's test batting credentials questionable, the middle order may be more vulnerable than usual.
In this instance, the Black Caps had enough of a buffer that their eventual 378 all out was a respectable showing for a first innings at Lord's, and probably still put them in the driver's seat, but with those nagging middle order questions and England's solid foundation, they'll be needing others to step up to ensure Conway doesn't have to break more records in the second inning.
The tail wags
It seemed nearly inconceivable that a tail-ender could somehow overshadow Conway, but for 21 beautiful balls, Neil Wagner did just that.
Walking to the crease as the No 11 batsman, with Conway on 186, logic and history dictated that Wagner would play defensively, while Conway would try and milk singles at the end of the overs and look for boundaries to bring up his historic milestone.
Instead, Wagner decided he was going to bat like an opener, hitting two of the most glorious shots of the innings through the off-side off the back foot, and adding a six over long-off for good measure.
Conway was happy to take early-over singles and watch the show, displaying full confidence in Wagner as the pair added 40 in 33 balls.
It was enough to see Conway through to his double ton – brought up with a top-edged pull behind square leg for six – and Wagner was clearly on his way to a similar milestone until a misguided push for two, combined with some slick boundary fielding from Ollie Pope, finally ended Conway's stay, and denied further entertainment.
Do I get paid overtime?
The extra half hour being tacked on at the end of play due to slow over rates can be punishing at the best of times, but is exceptionally excruciating when it comes at 5am.
It's probably inevitable in a match where the two spin options are Joe Root and Mitchell Santner, and while England were particularly at fault during their bowling innings, New Zealand weren't innocent either, even calling for a quick refreshment when batting, just 40 minutes into the day.
De Grandhomme shuffling through his overs made New Zealand's all-seam attack less egregious than England's faffing about, but surely an on-time finish to the day's play would be greatly appreciated by the hardy few who are set to pull 15 all-nighters in June.
(If this website starts bizarrely clamouring for the Black Caps to employ several spinners in upcoming tests, now you'll know why.)
The Black Caps' dilemma
Two Black Caps veterans could find themselves under serious scrutiny as the World Test Championship approaches.
Both Ross Taylor and BJ Watling have mustered just one test fifty since 2019, and both have readymade replacements waiting in the wings – Will Young and Tom Blundell.
Taylor looked all at sea on day one, while Watling's recent struggles against high pace make him a target for Wood.
With Watling retiring after the WTC final, and the 37-year-old Taylor also potentially nearing a test swansong, the Black Caps selectors cannot afford to be sentimental.
There are genuine arguments in their favour – including leadership, experience, and that a patient approach has worked in the past for the likes of Martin Guptill in shorter formats and Henry Nicholls recently in tests. Additionally, their would-be replacements haven't made an overwhelming Conway-esque case for inclusion, lacking the certainty that they would be an upgrade.
It would be a surprise for the usually-conservative Black Caps selectors to axe a test great before such a significant match, and stronger showings in the second innings could help put any murmurings to bed.
Further low scores though, and Gary Stead and Kane Williamson are going to require a difficult discussion.