LONDON: Devon Conway became just the sixth player to hit a Test century on debut at Lord’s, with the left-handed opener brilliantly anchoring New Zealand to 246-3 against England on Day one of the first match of the series on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old South African-born left-hander was unbeaten on 136 — the highest individual on debut at Lord’s — to maintain the stunning start to his international career in all formats, making an array of shots, leaving well and showing a compact defense to blunt England’s all-seam attack under blue skies at the home of cricket.
By bringing up his hundred with a clip through square leg for four, Conway joined Australia’s Harry Graham (for Australia in 1893), former India captain Sourav Ganguly (in 1996) in being the only non-English batsmen to score a century on Test debut at Lord’s.
Just before stumps, Conway ran for three to surpass Ganguly’s 131, which stood as the highest ever score by a debutant on this historic ground. He is the 11th New Zealand Test debutant to reach three figures.
Conway has already struck knocks of 126 and 72 in his opening three innings in ODIs all against Bangladesh in March and averages 59.12 in 11 Twenty20 International innings for the Black Caps following his debut in November. He was born and raised in South Africa but moved to New Zealand in 2017.
Fellow left-hander Henry Nicholls was batting on 46 while sharing an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 132 with Conway, after paceman Ollie Robinson — one of two debutants in the England side with wicket-keeper/batsman James Bracey being the other — bowled Tom Latham for 23 and trapped Ross Taylor lbw for 14.
In between, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson chopped onto the stumps for 13 off the bowling of James Anderson, who was making his record-tying 161st Test appearance for England.
New Zealand are using the series against England as preparation for the inaugural World Test Championship final against India, also being staged in Southampton from June 18 to 22.
Lord’s welcomed back international cricket for the first time since an Ashes Test between England and Australia in 2019, with the capacity limited to 25 percent during the pandemic.
It was New Zealand’s first return to the famous ground since losing the Cricket World Cup final there in agonising fashion to England in July 2019.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021