Cricket: Devon Conway nails Blackcaps opening audition with unbeaten half-century in intrasquad warm-up match

Devon Conway has proven he's more than capable of opening the batting in English conditions, scoring an unbeaten half-century for the Latham XI in the Blackcaps' intrasquad warm-up match.

In the race to partner Tom Latham at the top of the NZ order for the two tests against England and World Test Championship final against India, Conway stood out on the first day of the two day match in Southampton.

Opening the batting, the elegant left-hander made 55 without being dismissed, as he and Latham (38 not out) added 106 for the first wicket in the morning session.

Conway's innings was made all the more impressive in the fact that he scored his runs against international teammates Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Jacob Duffy.

The openers retired after lunch to allow their teammates to bat in English conditions, as Colin de Grandhomme (54 not out) and Doug Bracewell (50 not out) also made runs.

All up, Latham's XI finished the opening day and their innings with 289/6.

But the day wasn't a success for Ross Taylor, out LBW for nine and Tom Blundell, caught behind by BJ Watling for eight. 

Speaking after the match, Conway says that the opportunity to spend time in the middle with Latham was invaluable.

"It went nicely for the Latham XI today," Conway says.

"Fortunately we're both left handed, so I could just feed off a couple of things he was doing. Just sort of asking him questions [on] how to approach it.

"It was pretty cool. We spent some time out there, we built a decent partnership together and [I] got to know what it's like to bat with the captain."

Conway also addressed the elephant in the room of his inexperience of opening the batting against the red ball.

The majority of Conway's time batting in New Zealand has come at No.3, but the opening spot could be his only entry into the Blackcaps test side at present, with a solid middle order of Williamson, Taylor and Henry Nicholls.

"There's probably not too much difference to be fair. If you're batting three you could be in in the first over. 

"It's about backing your gameplan, backing the way you play and staying true to that as much as you can, regardless of the situation. It's just about adjusting to the surface, and being positive throughout.

"I'd like to see myself as a guy who'd bat anywhere really. If the opportunity presents itself to bat up the order in test cricket... I'd be happy to take that with both hands.

"It's just a number. At the end of the day it's just about adjusting to different scenarios and situations of the game and just batting accordingly."

With the ball, Wagner was the pick of the bowlers for the Williamson XI, taking 2/18 from 15 overs, while Southee had 2/25 from 14, with his wickets being Taylor and Blundell.

Uncapped all-rounder Rachin Ravindra also impressed with a tidy display of left-arm spin, taking 2/39 from 10 overs, with the wickets of Kyle Jamieson and Matt Henry.

Conway's innings does his chances of securing a test opening spot no harm, especially in comparison with Blundell being out for single figures.

His main competition, Ravindra and Will Young, will bat on Friday night when the Williamson XI take the field for the second day.