Blundell puts personal ambition aside as New Zealand dominate England

·2-min read

Tom Blundell has insisted thoughts of a coveted place on the Lord's honours board will be at the back of his mind after helping to bat New Zealand into a commanding position against England at the 'Home of Cricket'.

Both Daryl Mitchell (97 not out) and Blundell (90 not out) are eyeing hundreds after an unbroken partnership of 180 took New Zealand to a second-innings total of 236 for four, a lead of 227 runs, at stumps on Friday's second day of the first Test.

That stand is already worth more than either side managed in their first innings, with Mitchell and fellow 31-year-old Blundell joining forces when the World Test champions were struggling at 56 for four after the bowlers of both teams had previously held sway.

But for all that Blundell would love to score the third Test hundred of his career, the wicketkeeper is aware of the bigger picture given there could be as many as three days left to play in the opening match of a three-Test series.

"We've got a job to do for the team, then the milestones take care of themselves," Blundell told reporters.

"It (a hundred) would mean a lot, but there is a long way to go in this game.

"It was a tough situation to come into, but me and Daryl showed intent and on that sort of wicket, if you show that intent the runs will come. We just spoke about trying to build a partnership and we ended the day pretty well."

This is England's first match since Ben Stokes took over as Test captain and Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand skipper, was appointed as their red-ball head coach.

England have won just one of their previous 17 Tests and for all the talk of a new era, assistant coach Paul Collingwood accepted Friday the team remained a "work in progress".

"We know that things aren't going to change overnight," said Collingwood. "It's going to take some time that we get the team playing the way that we want them to play. Obviously that's a work in progress," he said.

The former all-rounder, England's captain when they won the 2010 Twenty World Cup in the Caribbean, added: "Brendon's a glass-half-full kind of man.

"He'll stay calm, he won't change his values and beliefs just because of one innings, that's for sure, and neither will Ben...This game's not out of our reach yet."


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