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Tactics paying off - Trott

Jonathan Trott felt England were rewarded for their decision to not enforce the follow-on as they moved to the brink of a 2-0 Investec Test series whitewash.

Many felt the hosts would ask New Zealand to bat again yesterday, but Alastair Cook opted to pile on further runs.

He led from the front today, striking 130 as England batted for just over a session and eventually declared on 287 for five at Headingley.

That set New Zealand an unlikely 468 for victory, a target that seemed even further away as the tourists slipped to 158 for six before bad light ended play 25 minutes early.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast is not too good, although it appears England should have enough time to complete a dominant performance.

“I think we got it spot-on,” said Trott. “We got the total we wanted in the time we wanted and got six wickets; it was a good day of Test cricket. Now we need four wickets tomorrow to win the series.”

He added: “You can’t pay too much attention to it (the forecast). When you’re 1-0 up, you can afford to let the game take its course and not chase it, to play how you normally would and not let the weather dictate.

“You don’t want to bat last on dry pitch; it’s better to stay on top when you’re on top, make it difficult for them batting last – that was the idea.”

It is an idea that proved successful this evening as Swann followed up his skipper’s good work.

Cook’s ton today was his 25th in Test cricket and, more remarkably, seventh in 11 matches as captain.

Trott, whose 76 meant he had the best view for a large part of Cook’s innings, said:  “That’s his seventh as captain, which is amazing.

“Some say captaincy can be a burden but it can spur someone on and drive them to be better.

“We are happy to have him. He is similar to (Andrew) Strauss, which is good thing. He has his own ideas and differences and everyone enjoys playing for him.”

For New Zealand, it was another day of frustration – although Ross Taylor provided a bright spot with a fluent 70 before being dismissed by Swann just prior to stumps.

“He (Swann) is a world-class bowler and he got assistance with the footmarks,” said Taylor. “He asked questions the whole innings.”

Speaking about the game situation, Taylor added: “England are in the box-seat. We need a bit of help and will have to wait and see when we pull back the curtains in the morning.

“Something similar to the first day (which was washed out) would be quite handy.”

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