Rain delays England-New Zealand 1st Test

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LONDON, June 4, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Persistent rain meant there was no play before lunch on the third day of the first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s on Friday.

The match was intriguingly poised, with England 111-2 in reply to New Zealand’s first-innings 378 that featured debutant Devon Conway’s 200 — the highest score by a batsman making their Test bow in England.

England, now 267 runs behind, slumped to 18-2 before ending the second day with Rory Burns 59 not out and England captain Joe Root 42 not out following an unbroken stand of 93.

New Zealand looked like batting England out of the game while South Africa-born opener Conway and fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls (61) were sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 174.

But they lost four wickets for just six runs as they slumped from 288-3 to 294-7, with Mark Wood, the fastest member of England’s pace quartet, instigating a collapse.

Meanwhile Test debutant paceman Ollie Robinson led England’s attack with 4-75 in the first of this two-Test series.

The match should have resumed at 11:00 am (1000 GMT) but persistent rain meant the pitch and square at the ‘home of cricket’ remained fully covered.

There is provision within the playing regulations to make up time lost to bad weather to as late as 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) should conditions allow.

Lord’s, the London headquarters of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has a reputation for being a quick-drying ground but, with rain still falling from an overcast sky when lunch was taken at 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), that will count for little on Friday until the weather relents.

This match marks the return of spectators to international cricket in England after last season’s fixtures were all played behind closed doors because of coronavirus restrictions.

The second Test is due to take place at Birmingham’s Edgbaston from June 10-14.

New Zealand will then remain in England to face India in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl.