England 389 and 74-2
New Zealand 523 (after day three)
Alastair Cook and Ian Bell will need to draw on all of their Test match experience if they are to pull England out of the hole they appear to be in at Lord's. New Zealand continued to apply the pressure to the home side on day three of the first Test, as they gained a sizeable first innings lead of 134. Brendon McCullum's bowlers had then reduced their hosts to 74-2 by the close of play, still 60 runs away from making the tourists bat again. Kane Williamson's knock of 132 for the Kiwis may prove to be the catalyst for England's demise in the final analysis.
NZ lead always looked likely
After finishing healthily placed overnight on 303-2, New Zealand were always likely to gain a lead on first innings. England's task was to limit the damage, to keep themselves in the contest. Their bowling display was a step up from day two, yet they were unable to prevent Williamson completing his century. Even a rain delay of around an hour did little to stem the flow of runs from their opponents.
Early respite for bowlers
Stuart Broad had offered some early respite by removing Ross Taylor for 62, but that merely brought McCullum to the wicket. As ever, the Kiwis' skipper was in belligerent and aggressive mood. Quick runs are his forte and he had pummelled 42 off just 38 balls, before providing Mark Wood with his first Test wicket. England could hardly celebrate, they were already behind on the scoreboard with 6 wickets still to take.
Wood gets in the wickets
Corey Anderson added just 9 runs before Wood claimed his second wicket. New Zealand continued to accumulate though, adding another half-century for the 6th wicket between Williamson and BJ Watling. It took Moeen Ali's spin to finally dismiss Williamson, ending his epic six hour plus vigil. It proved to be a brief moment of hope for the beleaguered bowling side, as Moeen took two wickets in three balls, trapping Mark Craig LBW soon afterwards.
Watling ensured the lead developed
Watling worked with the tail, continuing unbeaten to the innings close with 61, as the wickets tumbled more regularly at the other end. The final score of 523 ensured that the visitors will have to play extremely poorly from now on if they are to lose the match. A slightly concerning statistic for England in the field will have been the 67 runs they gave away in extras, at least 20-30 runs more than they would feel was 'acceptable'.
Broad, Wood and Moeen all finished with 3 wickets apiece, yet James Anderson's single dismissal was perhaps the telling factor. His usual cutting edge seemed to be missing throughout.
More trouble for England's batsmen
Trent Boult and Tim Southee were immediately back at the England batsmen's throats when they began their second innings. Adam Lyth (12) and Gary Ballance (0) were soon back in the pavilion as the opening bowlers took two early wickets. Boult tempted Lyth to edge an outswinger to the waiting slips, while Southee was even more pitch-perfect to bowl Lyth's Yorkshire teammate.
At 25-2 it was sadly (for English fans) all too reminiscent of day one. Yet Cook and Bell at least gave the watching spectators some room for optimism, seeing play out to the close with both men still unbeaten. They will need far more from them on day four to save the game though. #Cricket