New Zealand's Tom Latham celebrates reaching his century during the first day of the second cricket Test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on friday. AFP
HAMILTON: Tom Latham's unbeaten hundred and his century stand with Ross Taylor laid a solid foundation for New Zealand before rain brought an early end to day one of the second Test against England in Hamilton on Friday.
Latham was on 101 when the rain swept in, just three deliveries after the tea break with New Zealand 173 for three.
While Latham played down his 11th Test century as “nice”, England were left to regret dropping the left-hander on 66 and not meeting expectations after winning the toss and bowling first.
“On day one of a Test match if you get a team six or seven down by the close you've probably had a pretty good day,” said Chris Woakes who took two of the three wickets to fall.
Woakes was added to the England line up to give them five seamers on a wicket renowned to assist the side bowling first.
Instead England toiled for little reward, saw Ross Taylor benefit from a dubious decision during a century partnership with Latham and lost the use of Ben Stokes as a bowling weapon.
Stokes, who was also responsible for dropping Latham, felt pain in his left knee after bowling two overs and will be assessed overnight to see whether he can bowl again during the innings.
Latham has now scored five centuries in the last 10 Test innings but preferred to talk about “a reasonably good day” for New Zealand rather than focus on himself. “Hopefully we can keep going and put a good score on the board,” he added, mindful that he had failed in the first Test when New Zealand posted 615 for nine declared to beat England by an innings.
His 11th century lifted him to equal sixth on the New Zealand century-makers list headed by Kane Williamson with 20.
Williamson, however, was off his best this innings when he was dismissed for four in a rocky start for New Zealand after Jeet Raval was removed for five. But from two for 39, Latham and Taylor put on 116 for the third wicket when Taylor went for 53 to have New Zealand three for 155.
All three wickets were to catches by England captain Joe Root at first slip.
Taylor also received a let-off which proved costly for England when he was hit on the pads by Stuart Broad and given out.
After conferring with Latham, Taylor sought a review which saw the dismissal overturned when slow-motion video replays detected a faint sound after the ball passed the bat but had not reached the pads.
TV Umpire Bruce Oxenford believed it could only have come from an inside edge, keeping Taylor safe although there appeared to be no concrete evidence to prove this.
A relieved Taylor batted on to bring up his 32nd Test half-century with a four and was dismissed on the next ball.