New Zealanders give little away

New Zealand 297-2 v Kent

As an exercise in intelligence gathering in the run-up to the opening Test between England and New Zealand, this was decidedly unproductive. There was not a lot of useful information either side could glean about the form of various players.

Kent's wicketkeeper, Geraint Jones, who had been given special dispensation to play by the England management, had a generally OK day with the gloves, with the odd ball slipping past him for a total of half a dozen byes. It was no better for the tourists. While it could not be denied they needed time at the crease, there were moments when it looked as if the openers, Mark Richardson and Michael Papps, would be the only Kiwis seen with a bat in their hands.

They crawled through two and a half sessions, occupying almost five hours in compiling the New Zealanders' highest first-wicket partnership against a First Class county.

In the continued absence of their captain, Stephen Fleming, with a hip flexor problem that is affecting his abdomen, there may well be a batting place up for grabs at Lord's. Papps had amassed just eight runs in three innings before this, so some circumspection was called for.

But the sparse crowd would have derived more excitement from watching iron rust. If the New Zealanders were like a car engine that needs warming up on a cold morning, then their progress once they got going was rather like American suspension - soft and with a tendency to drift around the curves.

And they were scoring runs against a Kent attack shorn of its premier strikeforce, Martin Saggers, Mohammad Sami and Andrew Symonds, this last taking a couple more days of honeymoon, having married just a few days before turning up in Canterbury. In addition, the off-spinner James Tredwell was taking some time out.

The match represented a chance for their stand-ins to stake a first team place. Which, in the main, they did, although the promising pace bowler David Stiff had a mixed day. While he did eventually claim the wickets of both openers, he also contributed 20 no balls to the tourists' total.

When Papps, who was first to go, fell lbw on 126 looking to work the ball to square leg, he was still some way short of the New Zealand individual best against Kent, Matthew Horne's 172 in 1999.

It was Papps' seventh hundred of his first-class career. He had his share of luck, being dropped, at 23 and 34, both times in the slips, but he rode out that particular sticky passage and went on to thump 18 boundaries off the 248 balls he faced.

If Fleming is fit, though, Papps' innings will have been for naught, since he is unlikely to find a place in the Test team ahead of Craig McMillan. Richardson looked a cert to reach a hundred but appeared to lose sight of a slower ball and consequently lost his off stump eight runs short. There was just time for Nathan Astle and Scott Styris to realise an unbroken half-century stand for the third wicket.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living