At the beginning of the crucial third day it was widely believed that the team that won the day would go onto win the test match. With that in mind it was surprising to see Root start with Curran and Broad and waiting till first change to bring in Jofra Archer who had clattered into Nicholls the previous evening. The pitch looked to be flat for the pace bowlers with little pace and bounce and New Zealand sensed an opportunity.
England throughout the morning looked a little flat even with the introduction of Archer as the two not out batsmen overnight pressed on. It wasn’t until Root brought himself on for a bowl that things started to happen. Watling was dropped by Stokes at slip but on the very next ball Root trapped Nicholls in front and was given out LBW.
With spin on at both ends the new ball became available before lunch however Root choose not to take it till after the break. After lunch England obviously took the new ball but yet again neglected to choose Archer. Colin De Grandhomme and Watling put together a brilliant partnership throughout the afternoon that put the hosts within England’s score.
Watling in particular has gained a reputation for scoring tough runs and averages above 40 with the bat as a keeper. His determination and skill as a red ball specialist really offers the New Zealand team an extra level that should be important when they tour Australia over Christmas.
For England by the time tea came there was a sense they had missed their opportunity as the pitch looked like it had beaten them. After tea their performance levels did rise with the introduction of Stokes who rather puzzlingly hadn’t bowled all day. With the first ball of the session and off a very bad delivery Dom Sibley superbly caught De Grandhomme with a diving one handed catch.
Santner came in and partnered Watling to his well deserved century that was starting to put the kiwis well on top. A barrage of short stuff from Stokes and Archer gave the spinner some uncomfortable moments but in the end the conditions just got the better of the bowlers.
New Zealand finished with a lead of 40 still with four wickets in hand as a potentially difficult morning session awaits the visitors. Root’s captaincy which came under some pressure back in the summer will be the focus for some of the criticism and how best do they use Archer. England looked grumpy and very sombre at times on the third day with Archer in particular looking to be a little isolated. Taking 20 wickets is something England and especially the likes of Curran, Archer and Leach will have to learn in foreign conditions.
New Zealand 1st Innings
|J A Raval||c Denly b Leach||19||68||3||0|
|T W M Latham||lbw b Curran||8||21||0||0|
|K S Williamson||c Stokes b Curran||51||85||7||0|
|L R P L Taylor||c Pope b Stokes||25||40||1||0|
|H M Nicholls||lbw b Root||41||125||5||0|
|B J Watling||119||298||15||0|
|C de Grandhomme||c Sibley b Stokes||65||108||7||1|
|M J Santner||31||103||1||1|
|Extras||22b 4lb 0 7w 2nb||35|
|Total||for 6||394||141.0 overs|
|S C J Broad||25||10||45||0|
|J C Archer||30||8||84||0|
|S M Curran||23||6||74||2|
|M J Leach||37||6||97||1|
|B A Stokes||16||4||37||2|
|J E Root||10||2||31||1|
England 1st Innings
|R J Burns||c Watling b de Grandhomme||52||138||6||0|
|D P Sibley||c Taylor b de Grandhomme||22||63||4||0|
|J L Denly||c Watling b Southee||74||181||8||1|
|J E Root||c Southee b Wagner||2||22||0||0|
|B A Stokes||c Taylor b Southee||91||146||12||0|
|O J D Pope||c Watling b Southee||29||56||6||0|
|J C Buttler||c Santner b Wagner||43||70||5||1|
|S M Curran||lbw b Southee||0||1||0||0|
|J C Archer||c Southee b Boult||4||3||1||0|
|M J Leach||18||55||2||0|
|S C J Broad||b Wagner||1||10||0||0|
|Extras||2b 11lb 0 3w 1nb||17|
|Total||for 10||353||124.0 overs|
|T A Boult||31||6||97||1|
|T G Southee||32||7||88||4|
|C de Grandhomme||23||5||41||2|
|M J Santner||6||1||24||0|