Yorkshire pair impress at Leicester
Centurion Joe Root found good company in Yorkshire and England team-mate Jonny Bairstow as the Lions strengthened their position in the 22 overs possible on a rain-ruined third day against the New Zealanders at Grace Road.
The pair were selected in England’s squad for next week’s first Investec Test at Lord’s and looked at ease against the Black Caps’ likely attack this morning.
Root, of course, had the confidence of an unbeaten 105 – which followed 467 LV= County Championship runs in three innings this year – behind him.
Bairstow, however, looked similarly assured in reaching 45 not out as England Lions progressed to 315 for four, 30 runs ahead, at lunch on day three.
At that stage, it appeared the second-string would press ahead to set up a victory charge. However, rain fell regularly thereafter to end play for the day.
That meant the biggest worry for the tourists was a foot injury sustained by Tim Southee; the paceman will be rested for the remainder of this game, although he is expected to be fit for next week's opening contest of two.
It was New Zealand who enjoyed the better of the early-morning action, Trent Boult quickly having nightwatchman Chris Wright caught at second slip.
Another batsman in fine form this year, James Taylor, was not able to repeat recent efforts for Nottinghamshire, feathering behind a lifter from the impressive Boult.
Yet Bairstow immediately looked at ease alongside Root, perhaps more so than ever given they put on 231 for the White Rose against Derbyshire last week.
The former was typically pugnacious and positive from the off, striking his sole six to move the hosts into the lead.
Root, meanwhile, was again a picture of steadiness, mixing good running with a couple of advancing, lofted strokes off Bruce Martin to be seven shy of 150.
There was a brief interruption for rain in the morning, yet the break merely served to make the duo more comfortable as they played with increasing fluency prior to lunch.
The smattering of fans in attendance were not treated to added fireworks, though, as further inclement weather brought proceedings to a halt.