LONDON - Kane Williamson's unbeaten 92 rounded off a fine day's work for New Zealand in the first Test against England at Lord's on Friday. The Black Caps ended the second day well-placed at 303 for two, just 86 runs behind England 's first innings 389.
Williamson and Ross Taylor (47 not out) had so far shared an unbroken stand of 155 after coming together when the tourists had lost two wickets with their score on 148. But Williamson was given a reprieve late in the day when he went down the pitch to off-spinner Moeen Ali on 92 only for Jos Buttler, still more of a batsman than a wicketkeeper, to miss the stumping chance, albeit the ball spun sharply.
Now the stylish number three will hope to avoid the fate of England duo Joe Root and Ben Stokes, both out in the 90s on Thursday. Earlier, Martin Guptill made 70 in his first Test in two years and was well-supported by Tom Latham (59) during what was just New Zealand 's fifth century opening partnership in a Test in England .
On a sunny day, and without much movement, England found life tough, with captain Alastair Cook not often straying from orthodox field settings. The 24-year-old Williamson drove down the ground impressively and also used the cut shot to good effect in the first of this two-match series. His fifty came in good time, off 78 balls with six fours. England resumed on 354 for seven, having been 30 for four on Thursday before a fifth-wicket stand of 161 between Root (98) and Stokes (92) revived the innings. But they lost their final three wickets for just 37 runs in 10.5 overs. Left-arm paceman Trent Boult (four for 79) and debutant fast bowler Matt Henry (four for 93) leading the way.
England might have seen the back of both New Zealand openers when they were each in the 20s.  Guptill was on 24 when he edged debutant fast bowler Mark Wood to Cook at first slip. But would have been the Durham paceman's first Test wicket to be rubbed out when an umpire review to check for a no-ball showed he'd overstepped the crease by a fraction.
After lunch, Latham was dropped on 21 by Ian Bell at second slip off Stokes. But England took two wickets for no runs in three balls shortly before tea. Ali succeeded where the quicks had failed by having left-hander Latham lbw. It was the end of a 95-ball innings featuring 10 fours, with Latham's effort all the more impressive after he found himself keeping wicket for 75 overs while England batted following an injury to first-choice gloveman BJ Watling during Thursday's play. Next over, 148 for one became 148 for two when Guptill carelessly drove a Stuart Broad outswinger low to Gary Ballance at cover. Guptill, one of the stars of New Zealand 's run to the World Cup final faced 115 balls including eight fours and a swept six off Ali.
Then, with both new batsmen on nought, Williamson called for a reckless single which would have seen Taylor run out had bowler Broad's underarm throw hit the stumps at the striker's end. England were often ragged in the field on Friday, with Buttler conceding 14 byes, although he could do little about one Broad bouncer that sailed over his head en route to the boundary.

Scoreboard

ENGLAND 1ST INNINGS:
(OVERNIGHT: 354-7):
A Lyth c Watling b Southee    7
A Cook c Watling b b Henry    16
G Ballance c Southee b Boult    1
I Bell b Henry    1
J Root c Latham b Henry    98
B Stokes b Craig    92
J Buttler lbw b Boult    67
M Ali c Latham b Boult    58
S Broad c Latham b Boult    3
M Wood not out    8
J Anderson c and b Henry    11
EXTRAS: (b16, lb6, w2, nb3)    27
TOTAL: (all out, 100.5 overs)    389
FOW: 1-17, 2-25, 3-25, 4-30, 5-191, 6-251, 7-354, 8-363, 9-368, 10-389
BOWLING: Boult 29-6-79-4; Southee 24-1-104-1; Henry 24.5-3-93-4; Craig 18-2-77-1; Anderson 5-1-14-0
NEW ZEALAND 1ST INNINGS:
M Guptill c Ballance b Broad    70
T Latham lbw b Ali    59
K Williamson not out    92
R Taylor not out    47
EXTRAS: (b14, lb20, nb1)    35
TOTAL: (2 wkts, 77 overs)    303
FOW: 1-148, 2-148
BOWLING: Anderson 16-4-46-0; Broad 16-2-42-1; Wood 13-0-60-0 (1nb); Stokes 13-2-63-0; Ali 17-3-52-1; Root 2-0-6-0
TOSS: New Zealand