Nicholls reaches ton as play resumes in rain-hit first Test
AUCKLAND (Reuters) – Henry Nicholls scored his second Test century when play finally resumed in the first Test against England after two weather-disrupted days as New Zealand advanced to 347 for seven at tea on Sunday’s fourth day.
Rain had washed out virtually all of the previous two days, with only 23.1 overs bowled by England on Friday and just 17 deliveries on Saturday.
Finally able to enjoy an uninterrupted extended session, New Zealand stretched their formidable lead to 289 runs after they had dismissed the tourists for just 58 on the first day.
Nicholls, who has now batted on all four days of the first day-night Test in New Zealand, advanced from his overnight score of 52 to 100 not out as England’s bowlers made scoring difficult for the home side.
The 26-year-old left-hander brought up the milestone with two runs punched in front of point off spin bowler Moeen Ali shortly before the break.
Tim Southee was on nought at the interval after England’s bowlers had taken three wickets in the session as New Zealand aimed to kick on for a declaration, mindful of the prospect of further weather delays.
BJ Watling (31), Colin de Grandhomme, whose 29 included five boundaries and a six, and Todd Astle (18) were all dismissed in the first session, with Stuart Broad taking two wickets.
New Zealand are likely to try and force the tempo further after the break on a pitch that still looks good for batting but will provide some assistance to the swing and seam bowlers.
The second Test, a standard daytime match, is at Hagley Oval in Christchurch from March 30-April 3.