Cricket-Mitchell, Blundell put New Zealand on top in first test against England

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LONDON (Reuters) -New Zealand took control of the first test against England at Lord's after they earned a 227-run lead over the hosts on the second day as Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell produced a formidable middle-order partnership.

The reigning world test champions were 236-4 at the end of day two, thanks to a 180-run stand between Mitchell (97 not out) and Blundell (90 not out).

All-rounder Mitchell and wicket-keeper batsman Blundell stepped up to put their team back in the contest after New Zealand's top-order, including skipper Kane Williamson (15), failed to make an impact.

The pair's resilient performance came as a huge relief to the Black Caps, who were bundled out by England's fast bowlers for 132 in the first innings.

Wickets tumbled on a frantic opening day and in the morning session of day two but things turned calm in the afternoon as New Zealand looked steady with the bat.

The visitors then attacked in the evening session as both Mitchell and Blundell edged closer to centuries, while England were left trying to figure out a game plan.

Mitchell struck 11 boundaries and Blundell had 12 in New Zealand's second innings fight-back, which put England under pressure ahead of day three.

Debutant Matthew Potts, who took four wickets in the first innings, picked up 2-50, while the returning pace duo of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad also bagged a wicket each.

New captain Ben Stokes also experimented with spin bowling by bringing on Joe Root and Matt Parkinson, who was Jack Leach's concussion replacement, but it led to no success.

ENGLAND ALL OUT FOR 141

Earlier at the start of day two, England were bowled out for 141 in reply to New Zealand's 132, with the hosts earning a mere nine-run lead.

After yet another batting collapse on the opening day, England started the second day on 116-7 but their tail-end could not survive for long as they were sent packing within nearly half an hour from the start.

England, led by new head coach Brendon McCullum, have won just one of their previous 17 tests and are aiming to move on from their dismal tours of the Caribbean and Australia.

They will host New Zealand in two more tests after the contest at Lord's.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar)

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