Sunday dawned a fresher day than of late; warm early summer sunshine but a stronger breeze to reduce heat levels.
Another early start to catch up for the overs lost on Friday see England progress to 113/2 after 90 minutes – Burns reaching his 50 and Root nears his.
The locals are turning up in good numbers and with the touring parties, there’s a good crowd.
This is an ‘engine room’ session for England – build the foundation for power later on whilst NZ need to take wickets to sink the England boat. The track looks flatter and flatter and a Kiwi pundit call of England making 600 looks ridiculous but you never know.
Lunch 142/2 – Root 50 Burns 76 partnership 118; off 53 overs. Has all the hallmarks of a one innings ‘shoot out’ on day 5 if weather allows. Both look well set; Root needs to convert to silence critics, pitch looks close up v flat; indentation as expected.
NZ bowlers struggling this morning as England did. All they need to do is draw to take the series!
By mid-afternoon, I’m annoyed- in fact very annoyed. I’ve travelled half way round the world to watch cricket and this afternoon session has seen Joe Root take a drink at 2.20pm, we had drinks at 2.40pm he then had another at 3.00pm and now it’s 3.30pm he’s had another and tea is 10 minutes away. If I’d wanted to watch people drink I’d have gone to the pub! And the umpires do nothing! If I’m shortchanged of overs at the end of the day…then Root owes everyone here a drink!
In the interim we’ve seen some fine strokes by Burns – cuts and drives a delight – and some gritty batting by Root as he reaches the 80s before tea. Burns went for 101 after an endless deliberation by the 3rd umpire and excellent fielding by NZ. England reach 215/3 as tea approaches.
Stokes goes for 26 and Crawley for 1 (v nervous) as England reach 266/5 at drinks. Root is 113no – not one of his finest innings but one of grit and grind and should help silence his critics for a while. However he still needed drinks at 4.45 pm, 4.50 pm and again now! Everyone was waiting each time just for him – this is not acceptable!
Increasing cloud cover and a chill in the air all add to the Englishness of the situation.
Lights have just been switched on…we should get through the day! But no…as soon as the lights are on, it starts to rain (not forecast) and after 30 minutes or so, play for the day is abandoned with England 269/5 – 106 behind.
Draw seems most likely but who knows?
And finally…some action shots:
Kiwi bowling efforts