New Zealand bowlers share the spoils to take control against County Select XI

Ajaz Patel claims three to secure 115-run lead on first innings at Chelmsford

New Zealanders 362 for 9 dec (Henry 65, Mitchell 58, Fletcher 50*) and 0 for 0 lead County Select XI 247 (James 52, Patel 3-32) by 115 runs

New Zealand’s bowlers enjoyed a successful workout on the second day of their four-day warm-up against a County Select XI at Chelmsford, dismissing their opponents for 247 inside 75 overs. The wickets were shared among all six frontline bowlers on display, with the day’s best figures belonging to the spinner Ajaz Patel, whose 3 for 32 capped a fine all-round showing, following a feisty morning innings of 36 not out from 30 balls from No. 11.

That effort, alongside Cam Fletcher’s unbeaten 50, allowed New Zealand to declare on 362 for 9 after 10 overs in the morning session, following Matt Henry’s overnight retirement. And there was time for one over in their second innings, just before the close, successfully negotiated by Tom Latham off Liam Patterson-White.

This time last year, Dom Sibley’s crease occupation was in the process of becoming so all-consuming, he was virtually strokeless by the time of his England omission in mid-summer. And while a recall may be some way off yet, he at least showed in a brisk cameo of 27 from 33 balls that the 2022 version is significantly freer-flowing.

Each of Sibley’s five fours came in a wayward opening spell off Kyle Jamieson – three off the pads and two through the off-side, one a touch streakily as he chased the width through the cordon. But before he could press on, Henry at the other end capped a miserly opening burst with the opening wicket of the innings, courtesy of a sharp diving take from Will Young at second slip to intercept a thick outside edge.

At the other end, Ben Compton carried on in the same unhurried manner that has carried him to 878 Championship runs in the season so far. This match’s lack of first-class status meant his hopes of reaching 1000 before the end of May had already been dashed, but in grinding along to 31 in his first 75 balls he seemed dead-set on making his time in the middle count just as much.

But then, after Blair Tickner had leaked back-to-back boundaries in his first over to kick Compton’s innings into second gear, he responded one ball later with the perfect line and length to kiss his outside edge. Fletcher stooped low behind the stumps to send Compton on his way for 39.

Tom Haines, fresh from a tidy innings of 41 in New Zealand’s last warm-up against Sussex earlier in the week, then set about compounding Jamieson’s tricky day’s work with a further flurry of boundaries in his second spell. But after leaking 56 runs in his first 10 overs, Jamieson needed just four balls with Nick Gubbins in his sights before zeroing in on his pads from round the wicket and extracting a plumb lbw decision.

Ryan Patel was then caught at long-on for 11 off his namesake Ajaz, who dislodged Haines for 42 soon afterwards, as Tom Blundell – now behind the stumps – grabbed a thick edge at the second attempt. Jamieson then added his second lbw of the day, this time thumping Michael Burgess’s pads from over the wicket, and when Patel bagged his third – Patterson-White flicking uppishly to midwicket – the County XI were losing momentum at 181 for 7.

Colin de Grandhomme struck in the second over of his second spell, as Jack Blatherwick snicked an outswinger through to Blundell, but in an echo of New Zealand’s own innings, they was held up by the ninth-wicket pairing of Lyndon James and Jamie Porter, who thrashed six fours – each of them up and over the off-side – in a free-wheeling 31 from 35 balls, before he gave himself room once too often and lost his off stump to Tickner. By then, James had inside-edged a drive off Jacob Duffy to fall for a well-compiled 52.