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After New Zealand resistance from Mitchell & Blundell, Stokes' England struggles see tourists create dangerous lead

BEN STOKES, England captain, has experienced many emotions. However, too many of them include frustrations and disappointment.

Stokes, the new captain, must be wondering what Stokes is thinking after only two days on the job. How did we let New Zealand get away with this match?

During the match, Ben Stokes reacts

Daryl Mitchell of New Zealand hits the ball

England held a commanding position at different times during day one, but by day two, the visitors from New Zealand had taken control.

England fell horribly in their first innings. Yesterday, a few Blackcaps batsmen made Stokes and his bowlers work and struggle.

Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell teamed up at 56-4 to score 180 runs for the fifth wicket. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were already on the wickets, and Matthew Potts had two. This included the Kiwi captain Kane Williamson who was playing for the second match.

The match was transformed by the duo. The match was won by the batsmen, who were able to dominate bowlers' attempts at taking wickets.

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England seemed short of ideas and inspiration as the pitch was flat and soft. This is quite a contrast to the four previous sessions which saw England take an amazing 23 wickets.

Mitchell, the son of John Mitchell, former All Blacks No.8 coach and England assistant-coach, tortured England for their second consecutive match.

He was the man who scored 72 and led New Zealand's victory over England last November in the Twenty20 World Cup semifinal in Abu Dhabi. He was just three short of a century when his ff drove four balls from Potts to the last ball of the day.

Blundell was just as impressive, especially on the pull shot for bowlers who were unsuccessful. He is now 90.


New Zealand will start day three with 236-4, a dangerous lead 227.

Blundell stated that it was difficult for them to come together, but Daryl and I tried to form a partnership and show our intent.

"I did my thing, being positive. Things became easier when we got the bowlers in their second and third innings. Daryl and I have a huge job tomorrow to help build our lead because the pitch is still difficult to bat on.

England will need to win this match with England by Stokes' batsmen. They are actually playing much better than the last couple of years.

New Zealand scored 45-7 runs and 56-4 runs in their first innings. They are currently in command. This is mainly due to England losing five wickets for eight runs and all ten wickets in their first innings.

England's first innings was only 6.5 overs long at the beginning of the day. They were so badly hurt by their collapse that they didn't last much longer. This made it 20 wickets in the 82.5 overs that preceded the match.

Broad missed an attempt to slog, Ben Foakes edged towards first slip, and Matt Parkinson, after a delightful straight drive for four, also managed a catch to slip.

England was only nine runs ahead in the first innings. It looked as though it would be closer to 209 runs after they had reached 59-0.

Anderson was the first to bat for New Zealand, and his seventh delivery coaxed Will Young's edge.

Potts again removed Williamson. Williamson appears out of form, which is a rare trait for one of the best batters in the world. He tried an ambitious back-foot force that ended up in the hands Jonny Bairstow at the third slip.

Potts scored again when left-hander Tom Latham got caught behind. Lathan reviewed the decision, but no one seemed to understand why - he clearly edged it.

Broad was there when Devon Conway threw a short ball down Foakes' legside. England was contemplating a second day of play after the strangle ended the Blackcaps' 56-4 victory.

Mitchell and Blundell made their partnership with skill and patience, and suddenly batting seemed less dangerous.

The pitch seemed to have lost any venom - which was not much - and the ball stopped hitting as the New Zealand fifth-wicket team continued.

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Parkinson received a maiden bowl in Test cricket. He was accompanied by his leg-spinners, but without success. Stokes tried his tactic to bang in bouncers and pack the legside boundary with fielders.

Mitchell and Blundell, however, were indestructible and almost error-free.

Stuart Broad chases after the ball