Devon Conway headlined the opening day of the Lord’s Test with a spectacular century on debut proving just why he belongs at the elite level. He was assured and composed from ball one and was just as well after facing 240 balls for his unbeaten 136 as he led New Zealand to 246 for 3 in London. He ended the day with the highest score for a Test debutant at Lord’s.
Such was the impact of the debutant’s 132-run unbroken stand for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls, that it left England’s bowlers tired and their shoulders dropped. They were on the back foot with no wicket having fallen in the final session as New Zealand ended the day on a high.
Nicholls was rather patient in his knock, scoring 10 runs off 51 balls, but more importantly kept Conway company. The opener resumed the session on 77 but wasn’t wary of taking the bowlers for a few fours. He eventually reached his century with a whip to the backward square boundary. Nicholls, meanwhile, held his end en route an unbeaten 46 to end the day with a stand that put New Zealand well placed after the game was on even keel at Tea on Wednesday (June 2).
In the middle session, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor fell cheaply as England redeemed themselves after a meek start. New Zealand had the perfect start in the morning with Tom Latham and Conway adding 58 for the opening wicket. England needed quick strikes were they to break the budding stand between Williamson and Conway after Lunch. James Anderson, who statistically has the wood over Williamson, proved why as he struck in the opening over after the first break with Williamson playing a tad too late, chopping onto his stumps. Taylor couldn’t turn around his lean run of form, jittery in the middle with Stuart Broad posing problems, being beaten over and over again. Meanwhile, Conway was steady in the middle and reached his maiden Test fifty. Ollie Robinson trapped Taylor leg before soon after, who missed the flick shuffling across to be struck plumb in front. Robinson was looking to get the ball back in and pin Taylor on the front foot and the fifth inswinger did the job for him.
England lost a review after a leg-before appeal against Conway – when on 54 – had ball-tracking reveal it to be pitching outside leg. Thereafter, he barely offered them anything as conditions eased up for the batsmen. England rued the absence of a spinner on this track that doesn’t have much for the pacers, with Joe Root having to make up for it.
New Zealand, earlier, called right at the toss as crowds – albeit a maximum capacity of 6500 – returned. Conway was one of the three debutants with Robinson and James Bracey handed caps for England. Robinson picked the only wicket to fall in the first session after a tentative prod from Latham knocked him over. That, after Anderson and Broad were negated by the opening pair with relative ease. After the first hour where England would’ve liked more control, after Robinson picked up Latham, Mark Wood was brought in as the pair posed pertinent questions to the batsmen. A good battle between Williamson and Robinson ensued with testing lines and varied lengths resulting in plays and misses as he upped his pace. Wood was up to full pace touching 95 mph, as the pair bowled with pace and accuracy to keep the batsmen circumspect. Conway became only the 12th New Zealand batsman to score a century on Test debut.
Brief scores: New Zealand 246/3 (Conway 136*, Henry Nicholls 46*; Ollie Robinson 2-50) vs England.