When the current Trent Bridge Test Match is confined to the annals of history, it will go down as the occasion on which England invited New Zealand to bat… and bat, and bat.

The Black Caps’ marathon first innings finally came to an end shortly after 5pm on day two, having compiled the ninth highest Test Match total in Nottingham – 553 all out.

It was also, perhaps surprisingly, the tourists’ most sizable total ever on British soil. England closed on 90-1 in reply.

And yet, a brief afternoon rain interval (notable for the fact that it was anticipated by no-one except Graeme Swann) aside, the atmosphere within a sold-out Trent Bridge never really relented.

It’s an audience, after all, that is generous in its applause of brilliance notwithstanding partisan national loyalties.

And it is difficult to recall too many knocks of recent vintage more substantial, positive and match-defining than that of Daryl Mitchell today.

Many is the time that England have been blunted by the obduracy of a Rahul Dravid or Shivnarine Chanderpaul. They’ve been smashed to all parts by the likes of David Warner too.

But Mitchell’s masterclass succumbed to neither extreme – his 318-ball stay instead characterised by proportionate positivity and playing it on its merits, nothing more and nothing less.

Shortly after reaching three figures, he gave a chance. Matthew Potts appeared so calm underneath an attempted long-on catch that everyone, including those operating the big screen and electronic ground boards, assumed that it had in fact been taken. As it was, it slipped through his hands and bounced off his knee for four.

England’s missed chances, of which there had also been several on day one, do nothing to denigrate Mitchell’s achievement.

The New Zealand number five’s 190 is the largest individual score in over 20 years of Test cricket at Trent Bridge.

His inscription on the honours’ board – which is due to take place as hastily as tomorrow morning – will be richly deserved indeed.

Tom Blundell’s 106 will be bestowed the honour too. The duo’s partnership was worth 236.

And yet, even in the context of the Black Caps batting bonanza, there was a period when England’s bowlers brought some belated Bridgford cheer.

Blundell holing out to Stokes proved to be something of a false dawn, the stand that followed between Mitchell and debutant Michael Bracewell (49) adding a further 91 to see the visitors beyond Tea.

The early part of the evening, however, brought something of a flurry.

James Anderson, a statesman of accuracy and control even under the siege of a New Zealand landslide, founded the fightback when Bracewell nicked to Root at slip.

Stuart Broad bagged his first dismissal of the game as Kyle Jamieson fathered a well-directed bouncer through to Ben Foakes for 14

Tim Southee could only fence a brute of a Broad delivery to gully for four whilst Matt Henry tamely lobbed his first ball to cover as Leach concluded with 2-140.

And, although Trent Boult (16) threw the bat to haul himself level with Muttiah Muralitharan as the highest scoring number 11 in Test history, the innings was concluded when Mitchell chased a wide, slower ball from Potts and was caught behind.

As Alex Lees and Zak Crawley commenced England’s reply, there was an air of sod’s law to the fact that the new ball selected by the Black Caps was the first one in the match to offer swing.

Crawley (4) was quickly to succumb, caught behind off Boult – the audible groan of the crowd indicating the expectation that more disappointment would surely follow.

Alex Lees (34*) was determined, however, that the Kiwi pacemen would not pass.

And the Durham adopted Yorkshireman’s no-nonsense defence found the perfect foil in the effortless stroke making of Ollie Pope.

The Surrey number six come England number three breezed to a stylish half-century off just 66 balls. Perhaps it was the beginnings of some Mitchell esc majesty of his own.

With England in a perilous position, despite the late fun and frolics, please let it be so.


England versus New Zealand at our historic home

From James Anderson ripping through Australia, to Joe Root and Jos Buttler tons, day four fireworks are frankly commonplace at our historic home.

Secure your seats for day four of England against world champions New Zealand here…