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Devon Conway lights up Lord's with sensational century on debut for Black Caps

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 1 of the first match of the series today.

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Conway became just the sixth player to score a Test century on debut at the home of cricket as NZ reached 246-3 on day one. Source: Breakfast

The 29-year-old Conway was unbeaten on 136 to maintain the stunning start to his international career in all formats, making an array of shots, leaving well and showing a compact defence 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, the South African-born Conway joined Harry Graham (for Australia in 1893) and Saurav Ganguly (for India 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 at Lord’s. 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 innings at Twenty20s for New Zealand following his debut in November. He was born and raised in South Africa but moved to New Zealand in 2017 and has since starred for Wellington.

“Getting a Test debut, just a chance to play at this level, was not something I have really thought about,” Conway said. "I'm grateful for the opportunities Wellington have given me back home and also the Black Caps now.

New Zealand's Devon Conway celebrates scoring a century (100 runs) during the first day of the Test match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London Source: Associated Press

“They have trusted me and given me the opportunity. It’s a very special feeling. I certainly didn't think about that back in the day when I made that move.”

Henry Nicholls closed the day on 46 not out and was sharing an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 132 with Conway, after paceman Ollie Robinson — one of two debutants in the England side — 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.

Still, Robinson will likely remember the biggest day of his cricket career for the wrong reasons after a string of sexist and racist messages he posted on Twitter from 2012-14 surfaced over social media.

Soon after stumps, he read out a statement to broadcasters and other media, apologising for his behaviour.

“I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks,” the 27-year-old Robinson said. "I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that period, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets.

“Today should be about my efforts on the field and the pride of making my Test debut for England, but my thoughtless behaviour in the past has tarnished this.”

New Zealand is using the series against England as preparation for the inaugural World Test Championship final against India, also being staged in England from June 18-22.

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% 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.