Compton and Trott shine in Wellington
Brendon McCullum’s decision to bowl first backfired as Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott cashed in to full effect in the second Test at the Basin Reserve.
McCullum backed up his pre-match promise to put the tourists in if he won the coin-flip - a move Alastair Cook would have replicated had he called correctly.
The old cliche of ‘a good toss to lose’ bore fruit for England, however, as Compton and Trott, following the surprise departure of their skipper for 17, ruthlessly accumulated.
The upshot was England, seeking a victory after the opening match of three was drawn, ending day one in a dominant position at 267 for two; Compton struck 100, while Trott was unbeaten on 121 and Kevin Pietersen 18.
McCullum’s call was always risky, but perhaps even more so given his bowlers toiled in the field for 170 overs at the back end of the first Test.
Furthermore, a notoriously run-hungry top three was always likely to make hay if the hosts were not able to apply pressure - particularly after their disappointing efforts in similar conditions at Dunedin, when England were dismissed for 167 in the first innings.
From the moment Tim Southee sent down an ineffective first over, many were suspecting an error in judgement; the combination of bright sunshine and a flat pitch rarely fills bowlers with joy.
It was, therefore, more than a little surprising when Cook - dubbed the best batsman since Donald Bradman by opposite number McCullum yesterday - was ousted in a manner hardly befitting of such comparisons.
Neil Wagner, a fiery paceman who has shown a happy knack for taking wickets with nondescript deliveries, sent down a half-volley and England’s captain tamely chipped to mid-on.
Cook’s subsequent glance at the pitch suggested something untoward, though he was likely rueing having missed out on an excellent opportunity to score heavily.
His loss was Trott’s gain, for the number three was quickly feeling at ease as Compton, clearly more confident following his first Test century last week, showed a fluency that contrasted with grittier efforts in the international arena thus far.
The Somerset man possesses known quality on the pull, though it was his glorious cover drives that caught the eye - and also provided assurance that England would not be dismissed cheaply on this occasion.
Trott immediately ascertained that conditions were perfect, showing a desire to hit through the line that is often reined in at this level.
The duo have earned reputations as throwback players for whom crease occupation represents the sole desire, yet different versions were on display in Wellington.
Having shown outstanding poise and grit so far in his short career, Compton produced an outstanding array of strokes.
He subsequently became the first England opener to follow a maiden Test ton with another in his next innings - the second proving a lot less nervy, even if it was celebrated in the same impassioned manner by his father, Richard.
Compton departed soon after, edging Bruce Martin to slip on the drive. However, Pietersen enjoying some time in the middle while Trott continued his chanceless masterclass will have done little to brighten the moods of McCullum et al.
Live Text Commentary
4:50am - STUMPS - ENGLAND 267/2; Trott 121, Pietersen 18 - Pietersen picks up a couple of ones and twos while Trott resolutely ensures he’ll resume tomorrow. What a day it’s been for England, who - having lost the toss - could not be better placed to post a substantial total.
4:34am - REVIEW! - I am afraid this decision sums up New Zealand's day. Boult hits Pietersen on the pad, umpire Asad Rauf delivers a not-out verdict and the hosts waste a review. The ball was just clipping leg stump, but it never looked out.
4:14am - The fresh nut is not doing too much, with Trott and Pietersen content to play within themselves for the time being.
4:06am - That is not what New Zealand need on a day like this. Wagner finds Pietersen's edge, but the ball falls short of slip. The number four, who cuts Martin to the boundary in the next over, seemingly profited from playing with soft hands. Time for the new ball.
3:56am - Kevin Pietersen's footwork and timing look impressive in the early stages of his innings, though he has yet to pierce the field.
3:41am - WICKET! Compton c Taylor b Martin 100; Eng 236/2 - Where did that come from? Maybe Compton just lost a little concentration; the opener attempts a drive, but edges Martin to Ross Taylor at slip.
3:27am - CENTURY! Compton (224b 15x4 0x6) - How do you describe this shot from Compton? It was unconventional, brilliant and a little bizarre. He cuts, almost on one knee, to the boundary off Wagner before gloriously driving the left-arm paceman through the covers to reach his ton! That was a lot less nervy than his effort at Dunedin, but his father Richard - once again in attendance - appears equally delighted.
3:20am - CENTURY! Trott (174b 14x4 0x6) - And there it is! I can hardly remember a partnership that has looked this effortless. Neil Wagner sends down a half-tracker and Trott rocks back to deliver a powerful pulled boundary.
3:17am - Trott has moved ahead in the race to three figures following another four, this time through cover off Martin.
3:05am - Compton was nervous when approaching his first Test century last week, but not here. He finds two quick boundaries, both through the off side against Trent Boult, after Trott had swept Martin for another.
2:56am - Trott joins his partner by moving into the eighties, following up a clip through midwicket with a cut four in successive Martin overs. This is all a little too easy.
2:46am - Compton moves to 80 with a well-timed cut four off Bruce Martin; he no doubt has half an eye on a second Test ton now.
2:37am - Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton have resumed in Wellington and are content to continue their ruthless accumulation.
2:10am - TEA - ENGLAND 162/1; Compton 73, Trott 68 - Trott ends the afternoon session in style, striking Kane Williamson and Martin for fours through cover and midwicket either side of picking up three.
1:58am - Compton finds a couple more boundaries through the off side, one via a back-foot punch and the other a more traditional cut; Southee was the bowler on both occasions.
1:44am - Runs have dried up somewhat in Dunedin, not that England will mind too much given the position of strength they are now in.
1:32am - FIFTY! Trott (106b 7x4 0x6) - England continue to make hay here and Trott moves beyond 50 via a clip off his hip after Tim Southee had beaten Compton’s edge two overs previous.
1:13am - It's time for Trott and Compton to take a well-deserved break as drinks come on to the field.
1:06am - These two, operating to type, are content to rotate at the moment; I cannot help but think Brendon McCullum now regrets his decision at the toss. Trott adds another boundary with a swept four off Bruce Martin.
12:55am - After a frenetic start to the session, with 40 runs coming in its first six overs, Compton and Trott have begun to adopt a more reserved approach.
12:41am - The runs continue to flow for Compton, who cuts Boult over the slips before adding another four through a top-edged pull that flies off the glove and comfortably evades wicketkeeper BJ Watling, almost going for six.
12:33am - FIFTY! Compton (104b 6x4 0x6) - Two milestones come for England in quick succession; after taking the tourists past three figures with a cut for three, Compton reaches an impressive half-century via a driven two. Earlier, Trott struck his fifth boundary with a tickle through fine-leg.
12:24am - England have started positively following lunch, with Jonathan Trott driving Trent Boult powerfully down the ground for four. Their approach almost brings a wicket, however, when Compton - attempting an ill-advised back-foot punch - edges Wagner through the slips for four.
12:15am - Nick Compton picks up where he left off, pulling Neil Wagner to the boundary in the first over after the interval.
11:33pm - LUNCH - ENGLAND 75/1; Compton 34, Trott 23 - A very solid opening session is completed by a Boult maiden. England will be happy with their position despite the loss of Cook.
11:27pm - The slow outfield means Compton and Trott pick up three apiece prior to the latter cutting Martin for four. These two look in good touch.
11:14pm - The hosts have introduced left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, who claimed four wickets in the first innings of the last encounter. There is little evidence of any turn, though.
11:03pm - England end a brief impasse as Compton pulls Wagner for three before his partner cuts four. Trott finds another boundary in the next over by clipping Southee through fine-leg.
10:43pm - Trott and Compton look content to play within themselves post-drinks, which is probably sensible given how often wickets come following breaks.
10:35pm - Compton is really starting to look in fine fettle now. He finds the rope once again through the off side as Southee over-pitches. It’s time for a drink with England 44 for one.
10:23pm - Compton provides the perfect riposte to losing his opening partner, pulling and gloriously cover-driving Wagner for boundaries after Jonathan Trott gets off the mark with a single.
10:15pm - WICKET! Cook c Fulton b Wagner 17; Eng 26/1 - Well, I was just about to say that runs were coming more freely. After Compton pulls Boult to the square-leg boundary, Cook surprisingly chips Neil Wagner straight to Peter Fulton at mid-on. That’s a huge wicket for New Zealand.
10:03pm - Cook finally finds the antidote to a slow outfield: time it a little better. Boult makes the big mistake of bowling too straight and the captain clips off his pad through midwicket for the day's first boundary.
9:54pm - A big cheer comes from the crowd as Nick Compton gets off the mark with a scampered single from his 13th delivery. He'll not mind taking his time.
9:45pm - Trent Boult comes in at the other end but is a little straight to Cook, who twice clips two off his legs. There is not too much happening in the early stages - something that will doubtless please England’s openers.
9:34pm - Tim Southee sends down a nondescript first over, during which Alastair Cook gets off the mark with a single to leg. There was a little movement in evidence.
9:23pm - England seemingly have the perfect men to combat New Zealand's new-ball bowlers given Cook and Nick Compton struck centuries in the aforementioned Dunedin rearguard. We'll see if they can repeat the trick in a moment.
9:12pm - Here are the teams in full:
New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Tim Southee, Bruce Martin, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Monty Panesar.
9:04pm - NEW ZEALAND WIN TOSS & BOWL - McCullum sticks to his word and asks England to make first use of what Alastair Cook feels "looks a good surface". The England skipper conceded, though, that he would have bowled too. Both sides are unchanged from the first Test.
8:53pm - Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum yesterday claimed he would bowl first if given the chance. We will find out if that opportunity arises when the toss takes place in just over five minutes.
8:41pm - England were delighted with a draw last time out having surrendered a 293-run first-innings deficit after being dismissed for just 167 on the opening day. They will be hoping to make a much better start when this match gets under way in just less than an hour.
8:30pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of the second Test between New Zealand and England. The opening encounter of three was drawn in Dunedin, meaning there is plenty to play for at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.