A century to English captain Joe Root has pulled his team back onto almost level terms with the Black Caps in Hamilton.
At stumps on day three the visitors were 269/5, trailing the Black Caps’ first innings total of 375. Root is unbeaten on 114 of 278 balls, while earlier Rory Burns was run out for 101.
It sets up an interesting last couple of days, with the English needing to force a win to tie the test series.
Root batted all day for his ton, answering a few critics along the way after his form and captaincy was criticised in the first test loss in Mt Maunganui.
He and Burns made the Black Caps bowlers toil all day for little reward, with Tim Southee and Neil Wagner picking up the only wickets to fall other than Burns’ run out. That came off a bit of sharp fielding by Jeet Raval in the covers, but that was really an out of the blue moment in an otherwise turgid morning that yielded few chances and a slow run rate.
Root and his English side were not bothered by that at all, as it allowed them to chip away at the deficit and start thinking about how they can bowl the Black Caps out cheaply in their second turn at bat.
The pitch offered the bowlers little, but Southee did manage to pick up the prize wicket of Ben Stokes with an out swinger that had him caught at slip.
Zak Crawley only lasted six deliveries before he was caught behind off Wagner, however, any major inroads into the English innings ended there for the day. Rain began to fall after the tea break and forced an early end to the day’s play.
Root now has plenty to ponder overnight with regards to a declaration and then heavily attacking the Black Caps’ in form top order.
NZ v England, day three:
English first innings: 269/5 (J Root 114*, R Burns 101)
NZ first innings: 375 all out