|England 303: Burns 81, Lawrence 81*, Boult 4-85|
|New Zealand 229-3: Conway 80, Young 82, Taylor 46*|
|New Zealand trail by 74 runs|
A dropped catch and a questionable umpiring decision proved costly for England on a frustrating second day of the deciding Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston.
Captain Joe Root put down a chance off Will Young when he had only seven, with the New Zealand number three eventually falling for 82 to what proved to be the final ball of the day.
Devon Conway could have been given out on 22, only for the umpires to adjudge the ball had not carried to third slip Zak Crawley. Conway went on to make 80.
It ultimately meant New Zealand were able to reach 229-3, trailing by 74.
The hosts moved from their overnight 258-7 to 303 all out thanks mainly to Mark Wood’s swashbuckling 41.
England’s last three wickets fell for 15 runs as Dan Lawrence was stranded on 81 and denied the opportunity of a maiden Test hundred.
England teetering on the edge
This was New Zealand’s day, one on which they put England’s batting into context.
The tourists patiently absorbed the England attack, gradually moving towards what should be a first-innings lead. The crowd tried to rally Root’s side, but even the Hollies Stand lacked the energy of the first day.
England have grounds to be disgruntled about the decision over the Crawley catch – replays suggested that he had his fingers under the ball.
However, that cannot mask the fact they squandered the opportunity to bat first on a flat pitch.
In addition, the decision to omit left-arm spinner Jack Leach in favour of an all-pace attack is looking increasingly like a mistake. Root was bowling his part-time off-breaks only 26 overs into the New Zealand innings.
England are not out of this match, but they are teetering. Lawrence, with his first Test wicket, was the unlikely source of the late bonus that opens up an end for the second new ball due early on Saturday.
They must take advantage, then put in an improved batting display.
The drop and the non-catch
England could not hide their frustration over Conway’s reprieve, with bowler Stuart Broad remonstrating with the umpires during and after the review.
When Crawley dived forward to take the ball, Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth indicated they did not feel it had carried, a decision supported by third umpire Michael Gough, although it was far from clear-cut.
“I think he caught it. It carried,” former England captain Alastair Cook told BBC Test Match Special. “You can almost tell from the reaction of the player.
“What would be interesting to hear is why the on-field umpires gave it not out. They must have thought they saw it bounce, but that’s where it becomes quite hard because technology is always going to make it look worse.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “I thought it bounced on his fingers on his right hand and went into his left hand.”
If England felt harshly treated, that was no excuse for Root dropping a regulation chance at first slip off Young from the bowling of Olly Stone.
Broad, bowling on a full length, was comfortably the pick of the attack. England struggled to find movement until they persuaded the umpires the ball had gone out of shape and Broad tormented Ross Taylor with a replacement that hooped around.
To compound England’s annoyance, Taylor overturned being given out lbw on 11, denying James Anderson a wicket to mark his record-breaking 162nd cap.
New Zealand make steady progress
New Zealand are slowly taking a grip on this match through old-school Test batting values of sound judgement, occupation of the crease and playing straight.
After stand-in captain Tom Latham was leg before to Broad for eight, Conway and Young shared a second-wicket stand of 122.
On the back of a double century in the drawn first Test at Lord’s, left-handed Conway once again played with style.
Uncomplicated, balanced and organised, it was a shock when he whipped Broad to Crawley on the deep square leg boundary.
Young, playing his third Test as a replacement for captain Kane Williamson, began circumspectly, but grew into neat drives and flicks.
He added 92 with Taylor, who is 46 not out, before tamely inside-edging a Lawrence off-break to Ollie Pope at short leg.
‘New Zealand showed us how to bat’ – what they said
England bowling coach Jon Lewis on TMS: “We feel like we picked the best side to take 20 wickets on his pitch. We’ve got the new ball in the morning, and we’ve seen in Test cricket that things can change quite quickly.
“We wanted to score more runs than we didand New Zealand showed us how to bat on that pitch.”
New Zealand bowler Trent Boult, who took 4-85, on Sky Sports: “The game is nicely poised going into day three.
“We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re still a fair few runs behind but the lads have done well this afternoon. It was a bit gutting to lose Will Young at the end there but he batted really well.”