NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) — Daryl Mitchell followed up a career-best test knock of 190 by dropping two catches at slip in England’s reply on a bittersweet Day 2 for the New Zealand batter in the second test on Saturday.
Mitchell was one of two century-makers, along with Tom Blundell (106), for the Black Caps in their mammoth total of 553 — their highest ever in England — to help them take command at Trent Bridge.
But at the close of play, it will be the potentially crucial pair of drops that gave Alex Lees and Ollie Pope reprieves which might be on the mind of Mitchell, with the English reaching stumps on 90 for one after a testing two-hour spell after tea. They trail by 463 runs.
Mitchell will be forgiven by his teammates, though, after doing his damage with the bat, firstly sharing a 236-run partnership with Blundell for the fifth wicket and then pushing New Zealand to their 20th highest total in test cricket.
By the time Mitchell departed as the team’s final dismissal following a tired waft behind an hour after tea, New Zealand had moved past their biggest previous test score on English soil — 551 at Lord’s in 1973.
Michael Blackwell, on his test debut, chipped in with 49 before England’s seam attack finally made inroads by taking the Black Caps’ last four wickets for 40 runs.
England lead the three-match series 1-0 after their five-wicket win at Lord’s last week, but a draw is likely the best the team can hope for at Trent Bridge.
The hosts are off to a decent start to the reply, however, with Pope on 51 and Lees on 34. Zak Crawley (4) was the only batter to fall, caught behind off Trent Boult off the 12th ball of the innings.
Crawley could easily have been followed quickly by Lees, who was on 12 when Mitchell fumbled a regulation take and put his head in his hands. The catch that could have removed Pope — for 37 — was tougher, with Mitchell diving to his left and seeing the ball strike his fingertips and deflect away to the boundary.
The England batters capitalized, with Pope passing 50 in carefree style in his knock that already contains two sixes and six fours.
Earlier, Blundell achieved what he narrowly failed to do at Lord’s by getting to three figures — for the third time in tests — soon after Mitchell had reached the same milestone.
Blundell then holed out to Ben Stokes at midoff off spinner Jack Leach for the only wicket to fall before lunch.
Rain arrived around an hour into the second session, bringing about an early tea, but Bracewell — whose uncles Brendon and John also played test cricket for New Zealand — resumed in big-hitting style, striking nine fours before getting out one short of a half-century.
Mitchell made the most of being dropped twice by England, firstly by Joe Root at slip when on just three on Friday and then soon after he’d made it to back-to-back centuries, following his 108 in the second innings of the first test.
Stuart Broad, playing on his home ground, took two of the final four wickets to fall in quick succession — those of Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee — but finished with figures of two for 107.
He had taken to the field for Day 2 just hours after a pub part-owned by the fast bowler was badly damaged by a fire.
The BBC reported that the roof and first floor of The Tap and Run, located in a village on the border of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, has been destroyed.
“We are devastated to announce that due to a significant fire in the early hours of June 11, The Tap & Run will not be trading for the foreseeable future,” Broad and co-owner Harry Gurney said in a statement quoted by the BBC.
“We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of support.”