James Anderson and Stuart Broad equal record as England keep New Zealand at bay

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James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled themselves into another slice of history as England kept New Zealand at bay in Mount Maunganui, levelling Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as the deadliest duo in Test history.

The Australian greats retired in 2007 with 1,001 wickets in 104 games together, a record that once looked as though it would never be touched.

But when Anderson had centurion Tom Blundell caught and bowled late on night two at Bay Oval, England’s old stagers equalled a remarkable tally they will surely go past in the final innings.

As well as adding yet another statistical landmark for a pairing who have scooped up plenty of them over their years at the coalface, the Blundell wicket also proved an important moment in a match England lead by 98.

He made a quite brilliant 138, coming to the crease at 83 for five and eventually departing last man down on 306.

Without his brilliantly-judged knock, during which he dominated stands worth 124 for the last three wickets, the tourists may well have been in the clear already.

Instead they reached stumps on 79 for two and with a good chance of moulding the game in their favour on day three.

Ollie Robinson will never come close to the kind of numbers Anderson and Broad have put together but he outshone his distinguished team-mates on the day with figures of four for 54.

New Zealand began on 37 for three when play got under way, with nightwatchman Neil Wagner the next target. He was reprieved after being caught off a no-ball from Broad, crashed back-to-back sixes and then popped the seamer up in the air to turn become victim number 1,000.

Robinson was on his game at the other end and quickly snapped up Daryl Mitchell lbw for a nine-ball duck, zipping one in from a fraction outside off and rapping the front pad with no shot offered. Having averaged 107.60 in last summer’s series between the sides, Mitchell’s misjudgement was both a relief and a surprise.

At 83 for five England seemed to be on the charge. Instead they were detained by Devon Conway (77) and Blundell, neither of whom let the game slip away. They put on 75 either side of the first break, settling in as the pink ball went quiet and the pitch flattened out under sunny skies.

James Anderson falls over the boundary while fielding against New Zealand
James Anderson falls over the boundary while fielding against New Zealand (Andrew Cornaga/AP)

A spell of short-pitched bowling from skipper Ben Stokes did for Conway, with the skipper’s ongoing knee issue and lack of action in the warm-up match not stopping him from banging out a spirited spell that culminated in a simple catch for Ollie Pope at midwicket.

Blundell did not allow himself to fall into the trap, but England worked around him – Michael Bracewell hacking at Leach and Scott Kuggeleijn losing his stumps to a beauty from Robinson.

The Sussex man snapped up a fourth when Tim Southee was held in the deep, leaving his side in lacking on 247 for nine. Blundell had skin in the game too, stuck on 82 when Tickner emerged.

He proceeded to play a blinder, swinging hard at almost everything until he needed to steal the strike from the studious Blair Tickner. His fourth Test ton came with a rare deft moment, ramping Leach over his shoulder, and English frustrations began to mount. Ben Foakes just failed to take a brilliant catch, Broad hesitated under a simpler one and Stokes declined to review a thin edge from Tickner.

It took the combination of Anderson and the new ball to end things, Blundell skying one back to the bowler to become number 1,001, leaving a potentially tricky batting period under the lights.

The so-called ‘twilight’ period worked wonders for England 24 hours earlier but Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett met the challenge head on. The pair shared nine fours in the first eight overs, taking a period of potential jeopardy by the scruff of the neck.

Their counter-attacks briskly undid a chunk of Blundell’s good work, though neither could make it last. Duckett fenced Tickner to slip for on 25 and Crawley brushed Kuggeleijn behind on the pull for 28.

That gave England the chance to finally uncloak Broad in his much-discussed role as ‘nighthawk’. He followed orders by swishing his second ball high into the night sky, only for Blundell and Kuggeleijn to join in the faintly comedic tone by leaving the catch to each other as it plonked safely between them. Broad will get another chance to stretch his wings on day three, with Pope joining him on 14no.

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