England vs New Zealand: Opener Devon Conway ‘disappointed’ to miss out on another century
Birmingham: New Zealand’s Devon Conway was in reflective mood, saying “such is life” after just missing out on his second century in as many Tests against England at Edgbaston on Friday.
The 29-year-old opener had launched his Test career with a stunning 200 on debut in the first of this two-match series at Lord’s last week.
And it seemed he was heading for three figures again when, on 80, a flamboyant flick off his pads against Stuart Broad flew straight to Zak Crawley at deep square leg.
But the South Africa-born left-hander’s innings helped the Blackcaps to 229-3 at stumps on the second day, just 74 runs behind England’s first innings 303 all out.
New Zealand’s position would have been even stronger had not Will Young, replacing injured captain and star batsman Kane Williamson, fallen for 82 in the last over of the day, caught at short leg off part-time spinner Dan Lawrence.
“It was a little bit disappointing getting out on 80 – when you get to those positions you’d really like to cash in as much as you can but such is life,” Conway told reporters after stumps.
Conway, who shared a second-wicket partnership of 122 with Young, added: “It’s a tough challenge facing two guys (Broad and James Anderson) that have been really successful over a number of years but it’s not really about facing the bowler, it’s about facing the ball that’s presented in front of you and sticking within your game-plan.”
‘Soft signal anger’
England were rather less phlegmatic when the third umpire allowed Conway, on 22, to continue his innings when they thought he had edged Broad low to Crawley at third slip.
There was enough doubt though for third umpire Michael Gough to be called in by his colleagues.
And when standing umpire Richard Kettleborough gave a ‘soft signal’ of not out, England’s chances of reducing New Zealand to 32-2 appeared slim.
Gough, understandably given Kettleborough’s guidance, ruled in Conway’s favour — much to England’s evident dismay.
“You could see from the reaction on the field they were clearly frustrated by that,” said England bowling coach Jon Lewis of the decision to disallow the catch.
Lewis appeared wary of incurring a sanction from ICC match referee Chris Broad, Stuart’s father, with all the match officials in this series from England due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
But in common with former New Zealand paceman Simon Doull and other pundits, Lewis queried the need for a ‘soft signal’.
“Is the ‘soft signal’ required?,” he said. “Should there be one, or could the guy off the field make the decision?
“You have to ask the question, is it necessary?”
Conway, by contrast, had no qualms about relying on the rulebook as it stands.
“It was a tricky period when that happened… I nicked it and looked back because I wasn’t 100 percent sure if it did carry,” he said of the incident.
“I stood there to wait and see if the umpire was going to give me out and fortunately the ruling went my way. I’m pretty grateful it perhaps bounced in front of the fielder and I’m pretty happy I got another chance.
“We’ve got technology to prove whether guys catch it or if it dropped short, why not use the technology if we have it?”