Good evening and welcome to coverage of the early start of day three of the second Test between New Zealand and England at Seddon Park.
England are up against it after losing two late wickets last night. Dom Sibley and Joe Denly were the two wickets to fall leaving Rory Burns and Joe Root at the crease. The England captain is in desperate need of a score, as are his team which currently trails by 336 runs.
On a more positive note for England, this pitch looks very good to bat on and it could be an exciting day ahead with Ben Stokes, debutant Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope in the hutch. Not to mention all-rounders Chris Woakes and Sam Curran which leaves England with an absurdly deep batting line-up – although that has not always saved them.
New Zealand’s bowlers will be working with a ball that is 18 overs old so Tim Southee and Matt Henry will be looking to extract a little lateral movement first up while they still can. The threat on this pitch could well be Neil Wagner who’s variety and ability to work out a pitch – even a slow and tired one – has turned him into a world-class operator.
After all the talk following the first Test about England being taught a lesson in how to bat long and go big, today is the day we will find out if they really have learnt that lesson. That applies to Burns in particular who is still standing after two catches from his bat went down last night. The Surrey opener has looked uncomfortable this series after a tremendous summer but he has been gifted an opportunity – can he capitalise?
A series defining day awaits for Root’s side. England will aim to bat past New Zealand then bowl out the home side cheaply to win the match and level the series. However, that master plan relies on some serious runs being scored by England. A fascinating day awaits.