This game’s not out of our reach yet: Collingwood
It was a sheepish smile. Yet another edge from Kane Williamson had dropped short of the slip cordon and he made no secret of the fact that he had a bit of luck going his way – not to mention the inimitable soft hands that have prompted slip cordons to stand further close to him for over a decade now.
But only moments later on the second morning at Lord’s, you would have been left thinking: ‘what’s the fuss about?’ Williamson went back in his crease, typically punched off the back foot…and punched an outside edge straight to third slip.
The action seemed no different from 24 hours ago. Matthew Potts had Williamson again and as many as six wickets fell in the first session again. Until, of course, it all came down to a screeching halt post the lunch break. The lunch spreads at Lord’s, they always tell you.
After four sessions of pandemonium, the action settled down. So did the pitch. And England found out the hard way as Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell put together an unbeaten 180-run stand in such a fashion that the hosts’ new start went the same old way very, very quickly.
“We know that things aren’t going to change overnight,” Paul Collingwood, England’s Assistant Coach, said after the second day’s play in London on Friday (June 3). “It’s going to take some time for us to get the team playing the way that we want them to play. Obviously, that’s a work in progress.
“Brendon’s a glass-half-full kind of man. He’ll stay calm, he won’t change his values and beliefs just because of one innings, that’s for sure, and neither will Ben.”
It surely is a difficult time for England. Just a solo win in their last 17 Tests means that they need to conjure up something special to get over the line. They almost did in the first innings until the batting had another meltdown, the kind we have become so used to in recent times. England, as a result, could manage just a narrow nine-run lead, and blowing New Zealand away for 132 meant little.
“We came out of that first day all evens, both teams got pretty much exactly the same score. It’s disappointing that we haven’t gone ahead and created a big lead, but if you dwell on it for the rest of the game that’s no good. This game’s not out of our reach yet,” Collingwood said.
“From our point of view we tried everything, and you can see in Ben that we’ve got a proactive captain who is willing to try different things,” he added.
It’s quite a different story for New Zealand, the reigning World Test Champions who are looking for their second series win on the bounce in England. For now, they seem comfortable in the Test, with Blundell (90) and Mitchell (97), also eying mentions on the Lord’s honours board. Or are they?
“Obviously it would mean a lot but there is a long way to go in this game,” Blundell said. “Daryl and I have a big job tomorrow to build that lead. Those milestones will take care of themselves but first and foremost we got our job to do.
“(Today) I was just doing my things and playing the way I like to play. I was being positive… I thought Daryl batted especially well and to build a partnership with him was pretty pleasing.
“The pitch is a little bit slow, quite hard to get a rhythm at times, but if you get through that and keep on bringing the bowlers back…I thought we did that really well.”
So did New Zealand. And come the third morning, Williamson can perhaps afford to smile a bit more.