Good evening and welcome to coverage of the early start of day four of the second Test between New Zealand and England at Seddon Park.
England were going very well yesterday until a couple of late wickets fell and the rain arrived. To win this match, England need to score a considerable amount of runs today all at a good pace, otherwise the game will head towards a draw.
With Joe Root unbeaten on 114 and the exciting Ollie Pope at the crease, the run rate should not be too much of a problem assuming they can get through the first hour of play unscathed. Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are both waiting in the wings who can accelerate if the time comes. It is the job of Root and Pope to take England to that position.
The New Zealand players were fairly chipper at the close of play yesterday after the late wickets of Ben Stokes and Zak Crawley. They will be bowling with a fairly new ball this morning and will be targeting the inexperienced Pope who has yet to put together a score in his first three Test matches.
Tim Southee thinks that the momentum has shifted slightly following the final session.
He said: “I think it’s pretty evenly poised. If we’re able to grab a couple of wickets early then I guess it’s up to us to finish it off. On the flip side if England bat well then it strengthens their position.”
It is going to be fascinating to see how England attack this scenario. Will they play sensibly up until lunch or just for the first hour? How aggressive are they willing to be in an attempt to win this game and salvage something from the series?
Those questions will be answered today in what could be an exhilarating day of cricket.
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