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England on track for a fourth day win at Trent Bridge

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Rain and bad light robbed off the first session of the third day’s play at Trent Bridge. However, England are still on track to win this third test on the fourth day as they had done quick progress right through this match. New Zealand face the inevitable defeat after they were forced to follow on. At stumps on the third day, they find themselves closing to a 2-0 defeat as they still face a deficit of 64 with just 5 wickets in hand.

When play started in the 2nd session, New Zealand were in dire straits in their first innings at 96 for 6. They had to stretch their first innings as long as possible and hope for further weather intervention. But their hopes were short-lived with the England pacers wasting no time at all. Although there was no 10-wicket magic haul for Jimmy Anderson, it didn’t really matter as England wrapped up the tail in just over 13 overs. There was hardly any resistance put up by the two capable overnight batsmen – Gareth Hopkins and Daniel Vettori. The Kiwis got bundled out for 123 in 46.3 overs to concede a first innings lead of 241! Stuart Broad, who had been under bowled finished with impressive figures of 6-3-10-2 while Anderson had to settle with 21.3-8-43-7.

New Zealand’s problems against the swinging ball continued even in their second innings. It was a good decision from Vaughan to enforce the follow on considering the rain threats during this Test Match. By the close of this afternoon session, New Zealand had lost both their openers with not much on the board. That made it 6 wickets in the session! Broad, who has been having a great day, came up with the prized wicket of Ross Taylor in the early part of the last session to leave NZ at 58 for 3. After that for the first time in this game, the England bowlers found out some stiff resistance. That came from Brendon McCullum, the no.3 and Daniel Flynn. McCullum’s positive knock kept pulling down the deficit to give a ray of hope for New Zealand to come back in the game.

England’s relentless pace attack did ensure that McCullum’s party was only for a while. In the 50th over, McCullum got a dreadful inside edge back onto his stumps off an Anderson delivery. McCullum struck a useful 71 in 126 balls with 9 fours which was the highest individual score for New Zealand in two innings! It was a 94-run partnership for the fourth wicket. McCullum’s partner in that partnership – Daniel Flynn too perished a few overs after his dismissal. He made 49 from 105 balls with 6 fours.

New Zealand closed the day at 177 for 5 in 60 overs. They have Gareth Hopkins (7) and Jacob Oram (8) as the unbeaten batsmen. If Oram can produce something sensational, then the match can turn on its head. But for that, New Zealand might require another 250 runs atleast! For now, it is England, who are well placed for a win tomorrow having done about 85% of their job already. In this second innings, Sidebottom and Broad have two wickets each while Anderson has got 1 wicket to take his match figures to 8 for 86.

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