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Conway gives NZ solid platform against England


Conway gives NZ solid platform against England
Devon Conway became the 12th New Zealander to score a century on debut and only the sixth from any nation to do it at the Home of Cricket, as he batted through the opening day to finish on 136 not out. (Reuters)

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LONDON – New Zealand debutant Devon Conway crafted a hundred on the opening day of the first Test against England on Wednesday, with his unbeaten knock of 136 leading the visitors to 246 for three at stumps at Lord’s.

New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat, but they lost opener Tom Latham in the first session, while skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor fell cheaply after lunch even, as Conway took control.

Conway, whose century earned him a spot on the famous Lord’s honours boards, set a record for the highest score on Test debut at the ground, passing former India batsman Sourav Ganguly’s score of 131 in 1996.

“The job’s not done, but I’m very happy,” Conway told Sky Sports. “I had a conversation with Kane a couple of days ago and asked him what it feels like to go on that honours board. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Now you’re on it, boy’.

“Just getting a Test debut and the chance to play at this level was not something I’d thought about. Very special feeling.”

Conway and Henry Nicholls, not out on 46, stitched together a patient 132-run partnership to steady the ship and set up a platform for their deep batting line-up on day two.

England went with four fast bowlers on a green wicket but, barring a few unsettling deliveries, Conway saw off the early threat from James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson before slowly growing into the game.

England debutant Robinson drew first blood to dismiss Latham for 23 after the opening batsman had an inside edge crash into the stumps.

Anderson, playing his 161st Test to equal the record of former captain Alastair Cook for most England caps, then got rid of Williamson in the first over after lunch – the seventh time he had dismissed him in Tests.

Williamson looked to defend a rising delivery, but the ball spun back to hit the top of off stump and he walked back to the pavilion for 13.

Taylor followed him soon after for 14, when a Robinson delivery sneaked past his bat to rap him on the pads, as England successfully appealed for lbw.

England bowled better in the second session to keep the run rate down, but they struggled for variety without a specialist spinner in the side, forcing captain Joe Root to try his luck with 12 overs, which did not yield a breakthrough.

Lord’s welcomed back spectators for the first time in nearly two years, but limited capacity to 25 percent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.