New Zealand’s score of 375 in the second and final Test was arguably “300 under par”, according to England bowler Stuart Broad.
England endured a tough day in the field at Hamilton’s Seddon Park as a sixth-wicket partnership of 124 between BJ Watling and Daryl Mitchell frustrated them after two wickets fell in the morning session.
Broad finally ended their stand, removing each batsman within the space of four overs, though New Zealand’s tail wagged and cameos from Mitchell Santner (23) and Tim Southee (18) added valuable runs.
New Zealand’s hopes of clinching the two-match series 2-0 were furthered when England lost Dom Sibley and Joe Denly cheaply in their 18 overs before the close. Rory Burns and Joe Root reached stumps with England 39-2.
The Black Caps won the first Test by an innings and 65 runs on the back of a score of 615-9, and Broad believes their failure to do the same again on a batting-friendly surface means England are in a decent position.
“We won the toss and bowled – not to bowl New Zealand out for 150, we were aiming [to dismiss them] for 330-350 and then bat big once to try and win the game,” said Broad.
“We thought our best chance to take 20 wickets in five days was by bowling first.
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“These pitches, you’ve got to change your mindset a little bit. If you win the toss and bowl in England and concede 370 you’d be distraught, but here the opportunity is to bat big and bat big once.
“For us to win this game, we’ll need a batter to get 150 plus, and someone else to get 100, and leave ourselves a day to bowl them out on day five. That’s how New Zealand won the last test they played [in Hamilton], when they got -6. So arguably, they’re 300 under par.
“When you come away from home you look at what the opposition do in their home conditions – and New Zealand bowl. It’s pretty rare that they win the toss and bat.
“It will be proven if it was a good decision tomorrow [Sunday] really – if we bat through the whole of tomorrow and go past New Zealand, we can apply some pressure on them in the second innings. If we don’t go and get 400, we can’t.
“I think our opportunity is there tomorrow. There’s not a huge amount of pressure, there’s not a lot happening in the pitch, there’s not a big scoreboard pressure – there’s a chance for a couple of people to get hundreds tomorrow.
“We need someone to go and get a big hundred for us to win this game – and we’ve got the players to do it.”