New Zealand 590-7 at tea on day 4, 1st test vs. England

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — B.J. Watling scored his first double century and Mitchell Santner a maiden century in a record 261-run seventh-wicket partnership Sunday which lifted New Zealand to a 237-run lead over England by tea on the fourth day of the first test.

Watling brought up his 200 in the penultimate over before tea in as New Zealand reached 590-7 in reply to England's 353 at the interval.

Santner was out just before the break for 126, an innings which occupied almost six hours and helped New Zealand to an impregnable position with four sessions remaining. His partnership with Watling was New Zealand's highest for the seventh wicket against all nations.

Watling's was the first double century in tests by a New Zealand wicketkeeper and an innings of monumental stamina and concentration. By tea he had occupied the crease for exactly 11 hours, having come to the wicket when New Zealand was 127-4 late on the second day.

He batted through all of the third day, sharing partnerships of 70 for the fifth wicket with Henry Nicholls (41) and 119 for the six with Colin de Grandhomme (65), then began a partnership with Santner which frustrated England's bowlers for more than 83 overs.

Only two wickets fell on the third day and Santner's is the only wicket to have fallen Sunday.

Santner showed enormous resilience to stay with Watling and play New Zealand into a position from which they will dictate the remaining course of the match. He endured a barrage of bouncers from Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes near the close of play on Saturday but was willing to take the ball on the body in order to keep his wicket.

The first session Sunday remained a hard slog for the batsmen and Watling and Santner added only 58 runs, just 19 in the first hour.

They scored more freely after lunch adding, 138 runs in the afternoon session as England tired and a wearing pitch offered less and less to the bowlers.

Santner hit out with growing confidence, reaching his century from 252 balls in 322 minutes with eight fours and four sixes. Most of the sixes came from the bowling of left-arm spinner Jack Leach.

Watling reached his double century from 460 balls in 655 minutes and with 23 fours and one six. He showed no signs of tiredness or loss of concentration at any stage.

Watling had been joined by Tim Southee before tea, who was 2 not out, but it was unlikely he would have long to build an innings as a declaration seemed imminent.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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