New Zealand 452-6 at lunch on day 4, 1st test vs. England
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — B.J. Watling continued his marathon innings in an unbroken century partnership with Mitchell Santner to lift New Zealand to a 99-run first innings lead over England at lunch Sunday on the fourth day of the first test.
After batting through all of the third day Saturday Watling moved to 148, his highest test score, as New Zealand reached 452-6 in reply to England's 353 at the break. Santner survived a barrage of bouncers in the final session on the third day and was still with Watling, 55 not out at the interval.
The pair had put on 136 for New Zealand's seventh wicket, giving the home team a significant advantage in a slow-scoring match.
New Zealand added only 58 runs to its overnight total of 394-6, just 19 runs in the first hour. But it forced the England bowlers to work hard and fruitlessly throughout the first session, putting itself in a commanding position with five sessions remaining in the match.
England last took a wicket 67 overs ago when Colin de Grandhomme was dismissed for 65 by Ben Stokes with the first ball after tea on Saturday, after a 119-run partnership with Watling who earlier put on 70 with Henry Nicholls (41).
Watling had been at the crease for 541 minutes, approaching 10 hours, by lunch in the longest innings by a New Zealand wicketkeeper in tests. England could find no way to dislodge him, taking the third new ball midway through the morning session without success.
Jofra Archer had bowled 38 overs — more than ever before in his short test career — and had no wicket for 92 runs, though he continued to run in with enthusiasm. England captain Joe Root might have under-bowled spinner Jack Leach who could have found some assistance in footmarks left by Stuart Broad.
New Zealand must now decide how it wants to continue with less than two full days remaining. The pitch at the Bay Oval has been good for batting, if a bit slow and it will be a tough job to dismiss England for a second time.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports