26th over: England 59-2 (Burns 29, Root 21) Aha! New Zealand turn to Wagner to see if he can extract some zing from this pitch. He shoves one in short with every effort of his visible being, the polar opposite of Jofra Archer – whose effort is seemingly effortless – and Burns ducks and it pings off his shoulder for a single. Root ducks the next
In answer to your question William, if I could magic myself to these places so that I didn’t have to worry about my carbon footprint: I’d go to Eden Gardens and Barbados (neither of which I’ve been to), then Sydney, where I could visit my brother, then one of the lovely small New Zealand grounds – happy to be advised – where I could meet my other brother and ….
25th over: England 59-2 (Burns 29, Root 21) We get a close up of Root, eyes darting hither and thither from under his helmet. Southee bowls and Root looks uncomfortable, his feet static. Better next ball, full face of the bat. He nods.
24th over: England 57-2 (Burns 29, Root 19) Henry testing here with his line, but Burns and Root resist doing anything silly. Half an hour safely negociated.
23rd over: England 55-2 (Burns 28, Root 18) Just a couple from Southee’s over – this feels like a crucial first hour. Both these two have the ability to bat big, but are vulnerable early on.
William Hargreaves poses an interesting question
22nd over: England 54-2 (Burns 28, Root 17) Henry and Watling have an earnest chat. A few balls later, Root glove/pulls him, slightly uncomfortably down for four.
Thank you Johns Potter and Little for pointing out that England are batting not New Zealand…
Also, and apropros of nothing, I saw Dear Evan Hansen last night (if you love a good emotional roller-coaster with cracking songs, I recommend it). Surely The David Warner story has got to be a musical. Did anyone see Shane Warne the musical?
21st over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Root 13) The grass stripes either side of the wicket are very defined, all lime candy cane. Joe Root brings the England fifty up with a confident-looking pull off Southee.
20th over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Root 12) At the other end, we have Matt Henry, and Joe Root sends him scurrying for four, a back foot push through backward point. Burns then plays a slightly less confident looking shot, which squeezes through third man for another boundary We get a wide-lens view of the ground – it’s gorgeous, green and very pleasant. Trees, grassy knolls, picnics and a few half-hearted clouds.
19th over: England 40-2 (Burns 24, Root 7) Southee bowls the first over of the day, just a single from it, a back foot push from Root. A discordant version of Jerusalem drifts across the ground.
TMS tells me the players are out, but the TV is running rather behind … this could be interesting…
We need to talk about David Warner. What a story – boy from the wrong sides of the tracks, proves the doubters wrong, falls dramatically from grace, then redemption.
Interesting. Atherton is backing Root to make runs today. He’s been watching him in the nets, and “he’s been hitting the ball beautifully.” He’s tougher, Athers adds, than his angelic features might suggest.
There’s a christmas tree in the Sky studio. The mood in there is moderately dark. Mark Butcher says Joe Root, “has to go out and make a big one.”
Out on the ground, Ian Ward and Mike Atherton are talking to Jos Buttler. Wardy admires Jos “beasting it” in the gym.
Athers asks how Joe Root is coping with the pressure,“You wouldn’t know any different,” says Buttler. “He manages himself very well. Cream always rises to the top, his batting form will come back, probably today.”
Hello fellow time-zones-surfers, and welcome to day three of the second and final Test against New Zealand. They’re starting half an hour early today (9.30pm GMT, 10.30am NZST) in Hamilton, still making up for the grotty weather that truncated day one. New Zealand are whistling to the ground this morning, their bow ties perky, their trainers bouncy – two English wickets down with only 39 on the board.
All is not lost for England, but two of the newbies failed to endure a nasty final session of 21 overs yesterday evening. Unfortunate Dom Sibley, never the nimblest, was cuffed on the helmet and then on the box on the way to being bowled by a leg-stump half volley. Joe Denly prodded at a wobbler from Matt Henry and was well caught by BJ Watling behind the sticks.
The two men who will walk out this morning are Rory Burns, dropped twice yesterday, and Joe Root, suddenly under reams of news-print pressure over the captaincy. “We know we’ve got to go and bat 150 overs here to set up the game on day five,” Stuart Broad said. “Our opportunity is there…Here we’re not batting with a scoreboard of 500. They made 375. So, I think our pressure is reduced slightly and we just go and play.”
If you’re a batsman, you’d want to bat out there, wouldn’t you?” he added helpfully. “If you were good at batting, you’d fancy that.”
Let’s see hey Stuart.
In other news, poor Jack Leach is still in hospital with gastroenteritis, .