England's quest to take control of a test against the Black Caps has again been foiled by Watling and Mitchell.

This time, it was Daryl, not Santner, taking the Mitchell mantle, working in conjunction with BJ Watling to frustrate the visitors, and to put New Zealand firmly in command after two days of the second test at Seddon Park.

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The Hamilton duo added 124 at their home ground, combining for a sixth-wicket partnership which lasted 322 balls, further tiring the already-jaded English bowlers, and digging their side out of a potentially dangerous position.


By stumps, it was England in trouble, reduced to 39-2 after Tim Southee removed Dom Sibley, and Matt Henry dismissed Joe Denly. Rory Burns (24) and Joe Root (six) will take guard tomorrow, and they'll need a better start than the Black Caps offered this morning.

Resuming at 173-3, the Black Caps quickly found themselves in a spot of bother at 191-5, following the wickets of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls.

Latham started the day on 101, having turned his last five centuries into scores of 150 or more, but could add only four to his tally today before leaving a ball from Stuart Broad which jagged back in to remove his off-stump bail.

Tom Latham's off-stump bail was removed. Photo / Getty
Tom Latham's off-stump bail was removed. Photo / Getty

Broad was involved in Nicholls' demise too, pouching a catch at fine leg after a needless hook at a Sam Curran short ball, and just like in the first test, Watling had to lead a fightback with his side five down for less than 200.

Seemingly, that's right where the Black Caps are comfortable at the moment, with Watling and Mitchell blunting the English attack for more than 53 overs. It was a traditionalist's dream - 24 runs were added in an hour after lunch, with the pair having no need to score quickly, given a draw will secure a series win.

Two or three singles per over was the accepted mode of accumulation, rotating the strike, and after an edge on one from Watling fell just short of a diving Ollie Pope behind the stumps, there were no legitimate chances offered from the pair.

Daryl Mitchell and BJ Watling produced a pivotal partnership. Photo / Photosport
Daryl Mitchell and BJ Watling produced a pivotal partnership. Photo / Photosport

Watling has now faced over 170 deliveries in each of his last four test innings, and was at his resolute best again as his 192-ball stay forced England's aggravated seamers to resort to a legside field and a peppering of short balls.

It was a tactic that ultimately worked, but not before Watling had made a fourth consecutive 50, and Mitchell had raised his bat on debut. A fine player off the back foot, Mitchell was happy to swivel on anything short, and while that shot eventually caused his demise, he had already collected 73 valuable runs.

Daryl Mitchell celebrates his 50 on debut. Photo / Photosport
Daryl Mitchell celebrates his 50 on debut. Photo / Photosport

Broad, England's best bowler with 4-73, removed both – a short ball rose on Watling in the last over before tea and was spooned to gully, while Mitchell went for one hook too many and picked out Jofra Archer on the fine leg boundary.

They had seen off any danger however, and brief cameos from Santner and Southee saw the Black Caps through to 375 – a sound first-innings total after losing the toss.

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Additionally, any concerns that they hadn't completely batted England out of the test were put to bed before stumps, with two early scalps.

It should have been three – the incredibly fluky Rory Burns was dropped by Ross Taylor on 10, inside edged Southee past his stumps on 15, and then was dropped by Jeet Raval on 19. You suspect he – and England – might need similar luck tomorrow to resurrect their fading hopes.