Southee sets up thrilling scenario
Tim Southee inspired a dramatic New Zealand fightback on the third evening at Lord’s that ensured the first Investec Test remained very much in the balance.
England looked to have seized control when, after dismissing the tourists for 207 on the back of James Anderson’s superb five-wicket haul to claim a first-innings lead of 25, they surged to 159 for two in their second innings.
Joe Root and Jonathan Trott were the key contributors with 71 and 56 respectively, yet both fell before stumps as New Zealand roared back into an absorbing contest.
Root was the first of three scalps for Southee, while his fellow half-centurion was bowled through the gate by Kane Williamson in a frantic final half-hour.
England closed on 180 for six, 205 ahead, with nightwatchman Steven Finn in occupation together with a flu-hit Ian Bell, who came in at number eight.
New Zealand would have been confident of securing a lead overnight, but never got going after losing Brendon McCullum - a star performer during March’s reverse series - in the first full over of the day.
The touring captain edged Stuart Broad behind on the drive and bizarrely wasted a review when an edge appeared clear for all to see.
Broad could have enjoyed further success, but a nick from Williamson dropped short of Matt Prior and BJ Watling survived when neither Trott nor Graeme Swann were able to take one that flew between them in the slips.
The missed opportunity mattered little. Williamson, whose 60 spanned 167 deliveries, was soon caught down the leg side off the outstanding Anderson and Southee’s brief cameo ended on 12 when he top-edged a pull facing Finn.
Bowling unchanged from the Nursery End with an admirable level of accuracy, Anderson, the latest Englishman to reach 300 Test wickets, completed his five-for with a jaffa that knocked back Bruce Martin’s off pole.
Finn then had Watling caught behind for 17 – a dismissal similar to Broad’s removal of McCullum – and Trent Boult held in the gully to round off a fine morning for England’s seamers.
Alastair Cook and Nick Compton made it through an awkward 10-minute period before lunch, although the skipper was perhaps fortunate to survive a New Zealand review for caught behind.
Boult was the unlucky bowler, but gained deserved reward for another fine spell after the interval as Cook was well held by Dean Brownlie, diving to his left at third slip.
When Compton fell in the next over, bowled through the gate by a Neil Wagner inswinger, England were only 61 ahead.
Yet Trott and Root batted with composure and plenty of positive intent to give their side control.
The third-wicket pair brought up England’s first notable stand in the match and remained virtually untroubled as they accumulated steadily either side of tea.
Root’s only moments of alarm en route to a 78-ball half-century came when he twice came close to being run out.
The second scare saw Watling injure his left knee as he dived flamboyantly towards the stumps. New Zealand’s wicketkeeper eventually limped off, meaning McCullum took the gloves.
There were more unnecessary mix-ups after Root brought up his second Test fifty, yet he and Trott soon regained their composure to leave New Zealand, who also saw Southee, Ross Taylor, Martin and Neil Wagner leave the field at various stages, in an unenviable position.
By the time Trott passed 50, it was difficult to see where the next wicket was coming from.
Yet Southee returned to provide the answer, bowling Root via inside edge before cleaning up Jonny Bairstow for five.
When Prior completed a pair by pulling Southee straight to substitute fielder Martin Guptill, England were rocking and they suffered a further blow prior to the close when Williamson produced a crackerjack delivery to breach Trott’s defences.
Live Text Commentary
England 2nd Innings
6:30pm - STUMPS - Eng 180/6 and 205 ahead; Finn 6, Bell 0 - What a day of Test cricket that was! England worked so hard to carve out a position of strength, but a Southee-inspired New Zealand roared back to leave the game evenly poised heading into the penultimate day. Goodness knows what will happen next?!
6:22pm - Bell is now alongside Finn and we have eight minutes left this evening. What a stunning fightback from the Black Caps!
6:18pm - WICKET! Trott b Williamson 56; Eng 171/6 and lead by 196 - Good gracious. Nightwatchman Steven Finn comes in, but Trott departs moments later, bowled through the gate by a vicious turner from Williamson. England have lost four for 12!
6:12pm - WICKET! Prior c Taylor b Southee 0; Eng 171/5 and lead by 196 - Oh dear! Southee strikes again and it is a pair for Matt Prior, who made a mess of his attempted pull stroke and was caught by substitute fielder Martin Guptill.
6pm - WICKET! Bairstow b Southee 5; Eng 167/4 & lead by 192 - The Black Caps will be even more buoyant now! Southee goes straight and full to Bairstow and cleans up the Yorkshireman. Game on.
5:57pm - Still no sign of the flu-hit Ian Bell, which means Jonny Bairstow is Trott’s new partner. England’s lead is approaching 200 but New Zealand will have been buoyed by their recent scalp.
5:49pm - MISSED CHANCE & FIFTY! Trott (128b 6x4 0x6) - Trott moves past 50, but not in particularly convincing fashion. An edge off Bruce Martin flew to the left of Ross Taylor, who could only parry the chance at first slip.
5:46pm - WICKET! Root b Southee 71; Eng 159/3 and lead by 184 - Just when it looked as though Root was set for a hundred, Southee - back from his spell on the sidelines - claims a huge wicket for New Zealand. England’s young star was a little late on his shot as he played on to a full delivery.
5:23pm - New Zealand may run out of fielders soon. In addition to Southee and Watling, Ross Taylor has had a spell off the park and Bruce Martin is now the latest man to pop off. Trott and Root remain virtually untroubled.
5:11pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! New Zealand are getting frustrated, epitomised by Wagner throwing the ball at the stumps after Trott had patted one back to the bowler. England have steadily moved into a very encouraging position, but will know there is still work to do. A couple of quick wickets would put a different spin on this game. Martin does not help New Zealand’s cause by dropping short again. Root’s pulled four brings up the hundred stand.
5:03pm – It really has not been Martin’s day. After getting away with several dreadful deliveries, he is punished when Trott cuts for four. However, the slow left-armer then responds with a magic ball that spins sharply to beat England’s number three. Graeme Swann will be licking his lips at that one...
4:54pm - New Zealand’s best hope of a wicket at the moment appears to be a run-out. Root and Trott continue to have mix-up after mix-up between the wickets.
4:51pm - FIFTY! Root (78b 6x4 0x6) - Root’s tremendous summer continues. After cutting Boult aerially over gully for four to move to 48, he cracks Neil Wagner past point for a sixth boundary. The Yorkshireman has also moved to 3,000 first-class runs, with more than 700 of them having come in the last few weeks.
4:30pm - That is a shame. Watling is unable to continue so McCullum will take the gloves.
4:26pm - Bruce Martin has struggled to make an impression in this innings. He gets away with a half-tracker when Trott picks out a fielder, but then oversteps – a pretty poor error for a spinner to make. A delay follows as BJ Watling receives treatment. He looks to have injured his left knee when trying to run out Root. After McCullum missed with his throw, the wicketkeeper flung himself towards the stumps and landed heavily.
4:19pm - Root’s fourth four comes courtesy of an elegant cut off Trent Boult and takes England to 100. The hosts have certainly got there much quicker than they did on day one of this game. There is a brief scare moments later when Root is sent back by his partner. Brendon McCullum could have run him out with a direct hit.
4:09pm - Jonathan Trott and Joe Root appear to have settled back into their work smoothly enough after tea. Tim Southee is off the field for New Zealand and I think that is because he has an injured hand.
3:40pm - TEA - Eng 91/2 and lead by 116; Trott 25, Root 28 - The departures of Cook and Compton represented a bump in the road, but England are now threatening to take control of this Test. New Zealand need a good evening session if they are to set up a manageable fourth-innings chase. Trott and Root have been the epitome of composure. How can the latter be only 22 years old?
3:34pm - Root cuts for three to bring up England’s first half-century alliance in this game. The lead now stands at 116 and New Zealand will be desperate to claim another breakthrough prior to tea. They don’t have long.
3:26pm - The sun is now shining brightly at Lord’s and England have plenty to smile about as Root and Trott take their partnership towards 50.
3:10pm - Coming into this game, Root’s first-class average for the summer stood at 161. He certainly looks in good form and has moved swiftly into the twenties. Trott also appears to be settled and England now lead by more than 100.
3:01pm - An lbw shout from Southee against Root is answered in the negative. That was high and didn’t seem to have much going for it. There is still help in this pitch for the bowlers, evidenced by Southee beating Root outside off and Martin spinning one past Trott’s bat.
2:53pm - After drinks we have spin from Bruce Martin. His first ball is short and rubbish, enabling Trott to clip through the leg side for his second four. A wide delivery is then cut to the point fence, although it really should have been cut off.
2:46pm - Wagner produces a contender for ‘the most optimistic lbw appeal of all time’, yelping enthusiastically after Trott received a glancing blow to the thigh when leaving. Southee is now operating from the Nursery End as Boult takes a rest.
2:35pm - Boult opts to test Root with a bouncer, only for the youngster to respond with a crunching pull for four. That was a terrific shot and Root soon collects another boundary cutting. Boult is back on the money with his next ball, inducing an edge that bounces before reaching Brownlie at third slip. England are 54 for two.
2:30pm - Both Root and Jonathan Trott are off the mark, the latter with a cover-driven four off Wagner. Trott picks up four more later in the over with a sweetly timed punch off the back foot.
2:20pm - With Ian Bell having been off the field this morning, Joe Root comes in at four and immediately sees an edge drop short of the slips.
2:17pm - WICKET! Compton b Wagner 15; Eng 36/2 and lead by 61 - New Zealand are right back in this game now! Compton is bowled through the gate by a big inswinger from Wagner. The match continues to ebb and flow.
2:12pm - WICKET! Cook c Brownlie b Boult 21; Eng 36/1 and lead by 61 - An inside edge saves Compton as Boult finds appreciable swing into the opener’s pads. The next ball is driven past the bowler for three, but Boult makes a breakthrough when Cook edges to third slip and is superbly caught by Dean Brownlie, diving to his left.
2:07pm - Despite the accuracy of Boult, England have, thus far, been able to score at a much quicker rate than they managed in the first innings. Neil Wagner has taken over from Tim Southee at the Pavilion End.
1:54pm - Trent Boult is finding a good length once again and is unlucky to see controlled edges from Alastair Cook and Nick Compton run past the slips for three and four respectively. Compton is then beaten by a wonderful ball that swung away from over the wicket.
1:47pm - The second session of day three is under way and England will be determined to seize control now following a fine showing from their bowlers this morning. A substantial opening partnership would set the ideal platform.
1:02pm - LUNCH - Eng 12/0 and lead by 37; Cook 5, Compton 7 - Cook gets off the mark with a four through square-leg and Compton claims a similar boundary in the next over. England take lunch 37 ahead after a terrific morning session.
12:55pm - REVIEW - We have immediate drama! Trent Boult’s second ball sparks a huge appeal for caught behind against Cook, which is turned down. New Zealand review, but there is not enough evidence to overturn the umpire’s decision.
12:50pm - England have around 10 minutes to negotiate before lunch. Here come Alastair Cook and Nick Compton.
New Zealand 1st Innings
12:41pm - WICKET! Boult c Anderson b Finn 0; NZ 207 all out: And that will be that! England claim a useful lead of 25 as Trent Boult pops up a simple catch to gully. Finn finishes with 4-63 to Anderson’s 5-47.
12:38pm - WICKET! Watling c Prior b Finn 17; NZ 207/9 - The procession continues as Watling, who never looked convincing, aims a drive at Finn and edges behind. New Zealand are still 25 runs in arrears.
12:31pm - Neil Wagner gets off the mark with an edge that dropped short of the slips before bouncing through for four. Anderson is still bowling from the Nursery End. This has been one hell of a spell.
12:22pm - England have a real chance of claiming a first-innings lead now, which did not look all that likely when Ross Taylor was finding the boundary with regularity yesterday. A thick-edged cut from Watling takes New Zealand to 199 for eight and the tourists are 33 behind. I previously neglected to mention that England are without Ian Bell. He has the flu and remained at the team hotel this morning.
12:15pm - WICKET! Martin b Anderson 0; NZ 195/8 - Anderson has five and England have a first-innings lead in their sights. This was an absolute snorter that seamed away to knock back Bruce Martin’s off pole. Wonderful!
12:11pm - WICKET! Southee c Root b Finn 12; NZ 194/7 - England could do with getting rid of Southee quickly. After playing and missing against Steven Finn, he edges over the slips for four before collecting two much more convincing boundaries down the ground. Ah, now he has gone! He tries to pull the final ball of Finn’s first over of the day and succeeds only in skying a simple catch to the off side.
12:02pm - Watling drives Broad through the covers to move into double figures. That is only the second four of the morning, which says much about how well England have bowled. Broad and Anderson will surely need a break after drinks. Can the other members of the attack keep the pressure on?
11:54am - Anderson's first ball to Tim Southee is a jaffa that beats the outside edge. Wonderful bowling.
11:51am - WICKET! Williamson c Prior b Anderson 60; NZ 177/6 - England get their wicket and it is that man Anderson again! This is far from the best ball he has bowled in his career, but Williamson has run out of luck and finds himself strangled down the leg side.
11:47am - MISSED CHANCE & REVIEW - Goodness me! How has Stuart Broad not claimed another wicket here? Firstly, an edge from Williamson drops a yard short of wicketkeeper Matt Prior. Two balls later, Watling gets a thick nick toward the cordon, but neither Graeme Swann or Jonathan Trott can accept the chance. I think Trott, at third slip, got the slightest of touches to put Swann off. To add to Broad’s frustration, Watling survives a strong lbw appeal next ball and England’s review proves unsuccessful due to height.
11:37am - FIFTY! Williamson (158b 5x4 0x6) - Williamson has been at the crease for more than four hours and now has a half-century to his name. New Zealand need their number three to go on.
11:28am - This is exactly what England would have hoped for. McCullum could have taken the game away from the hosts very quickly had he got himself in this morning. Williamson and Watling are unlikely to score quite so freely, particularly if Broad and Anderson continue to maintain a good line and length.
11:16am - Ouch! Broad gets one to nip back at Kane Williamson, who gets an inside edge into a rather sensitive area. He needs a moment to recover.
11:12am - James Anderson is unsurprisingly introduced from the Nursery End and BJ Watling gets off the mark with a drive into the covers for two.
11:03am - WICKET! McCullum c Prior b Broad 2; NZ 155/5 - The perfect start for England! McCullum drives loosely outside off to Stuart Broad’s second ball and feathers an edge behind. For some bizarre reason, the New Zealand captain chooses to call for a review, even though he clearly hit the ball.
11:01am - Jonathan Trott completes the over he was unable to finish yesterday due to bad light and Brendon McCullum adds one to New Zealand’s total.
10:55am - Here we go then. England would love an early wicket or two, while New Zealand are aiming to get a lead of at least 50 according to Taylor. Let’s see what happens.
10:50am - We spoke to Alec Stewart this morning and the former England captain paid tribute to Anderson. You can see the interview on the left of this text.
10:45am - It is not the brightest morning in NW8, but we should hopefully get a full day’s play. The weather forecast for tomorrow has also improved, so there is every chance of a positive result in this game.
10:30am - You can read what Jimmy had to say after the second day's play here, together with the thoughts of Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s top-scorer so far with 66. Kane Williamson has the chance to follow his team-mate to a half-century this morning. He resumes with 44 to his name, having been dropped off Anderson on 23.
10:25am - Morning everyone. This could be a very intriguing day at Lord's, where New Zealand are set to resume 79 behind on 153 for four in the first Investec Test. James Anderson was the headline act yesterday as he joined an elite band of bowlers to have taken 300 wickets for England.