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New Zealand v England 3rd Test



THIRD TEST, Napier, close of day four:
England 253 & 467-7 dec v New Zealand 168 and 222-5

England ended day four of the deciding Test against New Zealand in prime position to complete victory some time on the final day in Napier.

Monty Panesar (3-49) and Stuart Broad (2-40) reduced New Zealand to 222-5 as they chased a massive 553 to win.

Having removed Jamie How (11), Panesar tempted Matthew Bell (69) into an ill-advised pull to Broad in the deep.

He ended Stephen Fleming's last Test innings on 66, before Broad removed Mathew Sinclair and Grant Elliott.

LATEST ACTION AS IT HAPPENS (ALL TIMES GMT)

By Tom Fordyce

Get involved. E-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606 between 0900-2300 GMT. (Not all contributions can be used).

NEW ZEALAND SECOND INNINGS

0430: NZ 222-5
Jimmy A for the last over of the day - and KP spills an absolute rocket in the gully. Straight in and out of the pouch, that one. Mont then fails to dive for a chance at square leg and McCullum picks up a few more. That's stumps - England need just five more wickets to seal the series win. See you tomorrow, fellow exhaustees.

0425: NZ 212-5
Three slips and a gully, two men catching on the leg side. McCullum jabs down on one for two and then survives a couple of in-dipping testers. Time for one more?

From Adrian King, Wellington: "I had a Turkish bath in Istanbul once. The guy who bathed me was a Freddie Mercury lookalike who made me strip naked before washing my hair with what looked and smelt like Vim. I felt like I was four again. Can’t believe I paid for it too."

0422: NZ 209-5
Safe to say the KP diet failed to pay off - Taylor chomps into a full toss and two long hops to put away three easy fours. Here comes the new ball; Siders to use it.

0419: NZ 197-5
Full bunger from Mont gets the treatment from McCullum, KP jogging after it in uninterested fashion. Weariness grows all around.

0415: NZ 192-5
Hello - KP's coming on for a twirl. Is Monty at deep midwicket? Can McCullum resist? Yes - he pops an easy single to mid-off.

From Roisin Doyle: "If you want to be supremely in the know, Mr William Cooper BMus(Hons) DipRAM, trumpeter by (self)-appointment to the Barmy Army is known to friends and colleagues as "Billos" (pronounced Bill-oss). No, I don't know why either; next time I play with him I shall ask. Perhaps I should clarify that - next time I make music with him."

0410: NZ 190-5
Taylor digs in as shadows lengthen at McLean Park. Not much joy for Siders in this spell, and a certain weariness in the commentary cold seat.

0404: NZ 188-5
Whoosh - bat-pad chance to Bell as silly point off Monty, but McCullum survives. England hunting a couple more before the close.

0357: NZ 182-5
Taylor helps himself to a couple of weary dobblers from the tiring Broad, and it's time for a blow for Draco. 2-26 off his 11 overs since tea - excellent effort.

From Jon in Melbourne: "The situation here is quite simple, Tom. Budgie-smugglers for lifeguards and older men of Mediterranean descent. Boardshorts for everyone else. What could be simpler?"

0351: NZ 177-5
Brendan McCullum to the front line, and he sqaure drives a wider one from Monty to the fence. Mont revenges with a beaut of a turner next ball and beats the oppo stumper all ends up.

From Liam in New Zealand via Burnley: "You think the Turkish baths in Budapest are rough? You should try a good old Kiwi rub-down in the mud pool of Rotorua."

0343: WICKET - Elliot c Bell b Broad 4, NZ 172-5

Wicket falls
In his 13th straight over (albeit with tea in the middle) Broad strikes again, the hapless Elliot spooning a short lifter straight up in the air for Bell to take running back from short leg. Stinker of a shot from the departer.

From Simon the Pom in Auckland: "Gary in Manchester: Are you sure it was a lady masseuse, and are you sure 'she' massaged you with 'her' hands?"

0337: NZ 171-4
The indefatigable Broad continues. Attention slipping, KP gestures at the Barmy Army and begins to conduct them in a succession of raucous ditties.

From Gary in Manchester: "I have been to the same open-air Turkish bath in Budapest. Had a very rough massage from a Russian lady with hairy hands."

0328: NZ 169-4
Broad completes his eighth over on the bounce since tea with just a single conceded. Could be time for a slice of Siders pie here, although Monty's on at his favoured end. England rattling along at 17 overs an hour here, with 11 left in the day. Drinks break for all concerned.

0324: NZ 168-4
Two slips, a short midwicket and silly mid-off in for Monty. Taylor jabs down on two dipping yorkers and Tiny Tim aghs behind the timbers.

0319: NZ 167-4
Grant Elliot - a man not generally recognised even in his own trousers - comes in to join Ross Taylor. On the England balcony, Matthew Hoggard appears to be throwing pistachio shells at team video analyst Mark Garraway.

From Sarah in Bucks: "Simon Jones is incredibly fit. Cosmo readers can attest the fact. Same goes for Chris Tremlett but perhaps to a lesser extent. This summer though, James Anderson, Stuart Draco Broad, and Alastair Cook may also be recipients of female attention courtesy of the aforementioned magazine. A preview can be found on that oh so popular video sharing website. Ladies, enjoy."

0313: WICKET - Sinclair c Ambrose b Broad 6, NZ 160-4

Wicket falls

There's another one - Sinclair fails to deal with Draco's nth lifter of the innings and gloves it straight up in the air. Tiny Tim jogs in and England are on the march.

From James in London: "Two contributions on foreign swimming pools. At a Turkish bath in Budapest interrailing in '96 when a fat naked local sidled up to my mate in a corner pool and asked if he was 'familiar with the doctrines of Epicurus'. Ancient historian that he was my friend gamely engaged him in conversation. Whilst I laughed from a safe distance. Other one is that they make you hire a pair of speedos at the pool in Chamonix if you've only got baggies. Reused speedos. Yuck."

0306: NZ 159-3:
Tight again from Mont before new-man Ross Taylor leaves a Draco in-dipper and survives by the width of a tadpole's eyelash. England's trumpeter Billy Cooper plays the theme tune from Blackadder, and there are 17 overs left in the day.

0300: NZ 158-3:
Draco canters in to Sinclair and gets him driving with garish abandon. England sniffing an opening here like suspicious hounds.

0256: NZ 158-3:
All three wickets to Monty now, leaving him with figures of 3-33 off 19 overs. Surely got to fancy a five-for here. Interesting Fleming fact for you: only nine of his 55 fifties became 100s.

From Martin in New York: "Re: Chris from Tredegar's question about Simon Jones - I'm assured by my female friends that he is fit. Apparently very fit indeed."

0247 - WICKET - Fleming c Ambrose b Panesar 66, NZ 156-3:

Wicket falls
He's got him! Monty stuns the sleepy Napier masses with one that goes straight on, and Ambrose takes the skinny edge. It's all over for Fleming - the crowd rise to him, his wife sheds a tear and he leaves the Test arena for the final time. Nine fours, 103 balls and 3hrs 17 minutes in that final stand, leaving him with a final Test average of 40.06.

0244 - NZ 156-2:
Super shot from Sinclair, drilling Draco through the covers for his first boundary.

0239 - NZ 151-2:
Sinclair the new man in, and Fleming sways out of the way of two more Draco bouncers before jabbing an edge away for two. Sinclair then plays a straight blade to Monty's dippers and fails to get off the oval.

0234 - WICKET - Bell c Broad b Panesar 69, NZ 147-2:

Wicket falls
Monty lobs down a long hop, Bell top-edges a pull and Broad runs in to take the pouch in front of his nose at deep fine leg. Lucky wicket for England and just the lift they needed after tea. Bell can't believe it.

From Chris in Tredegar, South Wales: "Tom - now you are a Welshman after the rugby trip to Dublin, don't you just wish Simon Jones was fit?"

Both before and after, Chris - before and after. Splendid weekend in Cardiff last weekend too. You haven't seen disgust until you've seen a Frenchman's face when he walks into a Yates Wine Lodge at 2am on Grand Slam night.

0227: Many thanks to Ollie for that stalwart 15 minutes. He's even gone to find some tea-bags now - what a man.

From Chloe in St Helens: "Draco Broad sounds incredibly villainous, now I keep expecting him to stop and twirl a non-existant moustache between deliveries."

TEA, DAY FOUR

"Have England ever had a less awe-inspiring bowling attack than this series?"
Jason, who must be too young to recall the days of Alan Igglesden, Mike "Smudger" Smith and Martin McCague

0214 - NZ 146-1:
Broad completes the final over before tea - a maiden that Bell negotiates with utter comfort.

0208 - NZ 146-1:
Panesar almost has an lbw appeal against Fleming, but if he doesn't go up you know it's not even vaguely close. New Zealand need more or less exactly 100 runs per session in the remainder of the match to win. They're 8/1 to win on Betfair if you're interested.

Angus Fraser

"Suddenly that second new ball tomorrow morning is looking very important"
Angus Fraser on Test Match Special

0205 - NZ 146-1:
About five minutes to go until tea, and England need to be getting more than one wicket per session. But don't you be panicking quite yet. Broad sends down a wide, a no-ball and a dolly mixture of other deliveries. I think KP should have had a bowl by now, myself. Fleming is having a bit of a chat with Vaughan about short-pitched bowling.

0159 - NZ 144-1:
Thank you, Tomasso Fordiccio (as he was once called in our footie XI at Cardiff Journalism School - ah, happy days). It's all gone unbelievably quiet. Monty bowls tightly, Bell scampers a single and he's looking just as solid as the English Bell was yesterday.

0157 - NZ 143-1:
Fleming leaves two easy wide ones trundle by and Draco hangs on for a forgettable maiden. With 13 minutes to go until tea, my colleague Ollie Brett will now step in to take you through to the break. Bonus Mini Egg to him.

0154 - NZ 143-1:
Monty battens down the hatches with a solid and unthreatening over. Draco Broad to return at the previous end after Colly's two overs went for 20.

From Col in Oxford: "Mr David Stanton has been very well advised; the old lycra numbers have a lot to recommend themselves. A controlled and disciplined cover drive as opposed to a loose and ragged waft over midwicket."

0150 - NZ 143-1:
Colly is being taken apart here. A flicked three takes Fleming to 54, and his Test average peeps above 40 for all time. Colly wipes his sweaty brow on a freckled arm and concedes another easy four behind square before Flemo calmly strokes another two. 20 minutes to tea.

0146 - NZ 133-1:

That's 50
Applause from the Fleming family as their man reaches his half-century with another casual dismissal of Monty for four. 69 balls and eight fours in the knock so far, and England have issues.

0142 - NZ 128-1:
Colly on for a wobble, and Bell helps himself wtih relish - two belting square cuts and a casual single. Palm trees beyond the stands sway gently in the afternoon breeze.

From David Stanton: "Whilst I agree with shorts as opposed to slicks in the pool, in these warmer climes, I have been suitably advised that slicks under shorts prevent excess chaffing. Likewise, as I work outdoors a lot, cycling/lycra shorts under your Empire-builders prevent a John Wayne gait."

0138 - NZ 118-1:
Monty returns and probably wishes he'd stayed in the dressing-room - Fleming drills him through cover for an effortless four. When he picks up two more straightish, he becomes the leading run-scorer in the the series. Eight more runs and he'll finish with a Test average of 40+. Now there's drama.

0134 - NZ 112-1:
Anderson is carted over midwicket by Flemo for four and then smashed square by Bell. Loose stuff from the Burnley toiler, and England are listing.

From Col in Oxford: "A hygiene issue? What do they think I'm going to do? If I really wanted to perform my ablutions in a public swimming pool a pair of nutcrackers wouldn't put me off."

I'm not saying I agree with them, Col - I'm simply passing on the chat I got at the pool under Les Halles last autumn. Their thinking has something to do with containment and sluicing, I seem to recall.

0129 - NZ 103-1:

That's 50

Bell creams Siders through cover for four, and that's his half-century and New Zealand's ton. This pair look like they could bat all day, to be fair. England's lone trumpeter toots the theme tune from Only Fools And Horses.

0124 - NZ 95-1:
Jim darts one back at M Bell and gets an inside edge which spins just wide of I Bell's pleading digits at short leg.

From Stu in Melbourne: "I once had a relaxing afternoon at the Napier aquatic centre, although was slightly dismayed at the number of men in Speedos. I stayed in the hot pool to avoid embarrassment."

0120 - NZ 94-1:
Bell drives over a bored-looking KP at mid-off for four, pinches a single and then watches Flemo edge past gully for another four. Monty trudges off to the dressing-room and is replaced by the ever-perky Graeme Swann, this site's very own blogger.

0116 - NZ 85-1:
Much better from Jimmy - everything on the nose for a maiden, albeit with as much threat as a cottonwool cannonball. Col - re the skimpies - I'm told it's a hygiene thing. Our cousins across the Channel see the boardshort as the thin end of a bubonic wedge.

0110 - NZ 85-1:
Steady Eddie from Siders, landing them on the spot as Bell plays safe. The umps signal pavillion-wards and on come the drinks, Phil Mustard doing the honours for the tourists.

From Col in Oxford: "Tommy, I advise you to go for it with Jason's mate. You'll regret it for the rest of your life if you don't. As for swimming pool etiquette, one thing which really grates is the French insistence on wearing Speedos. Had to buy a pair from a vending machine in the changing rooms at a pool in Paris. Terrible moment for the pride, the pale upper thighs and the sperm count."

0104 - NZ 85-1:
Fleming waits with the patience of a man who'll never enjoy another Test innings and leans gracefully into a wide one to pick up another four through square. Barely a sniff for England at the mo, and Vaughan is stroking his chin like a Chinese sage.

From Simon Corcoran, Dublin: "Who in God's name is the English fielder who shouts 'GOI!' at the top of his voice every time Panesar bowls a ball? Is it Tim Ambrose? I wish he'd stop."

I believe it is, Simon. Some sort of strangled shout of, "Got him,", I'd say.

0100 - NZ 80-1:
Mont is turned away by Flemo for a casual one before Bell sweeps to fine leg for three. Anderson looks set for the other end. Hmmm.

From Jerry Verrier: "Shocked to hear that swimming pool ettiquette is an international problem. Had a crisis with it in Chingford in the 70s, but thought that the NZ situation would be so much more civilized."

0056 - NZ 76-1:
Super spot of timing from Fleming, guiding a fullish one straight through cover with all the effort of a raja waving away a toadying advisor. Lovely blue skies overhead.

0051 - NZ 72-1:
Here comes Siders, destroyer of the first innings. The Kiwi pair keep beady eyes on them and nibble a single apiece. KP limping slightly at midwicket, possibly because no-one's looked at him for ten minutes.

0045 - NZ 70-1:
Better from Mont - more loop despite the wind being at his back, and Fleming pads two big dippers away. Oohs and aahs from the large-palmed twirler. My own input to the Napier swimming debate is this: a joust in the Onekawa Aquatic Centre a few years back left me sneezing for hours afterwards. And the lane discipline in there was a disaster - slow drifters in the fast lane, teenage bombers in the slow lane. Left a nasty taste in the mouth, which was even more worrying.

0042 - NZ 69-1:
Monty struggling with his length here. Fleming slashes him away past backward point for four more to rattle on to 20. The sun slips behind another Napier crowd as chat in the TMS commentary box moves to the best swimming areas in Napier. Christopher Martin-Jenkins extols the virtues of an early morning dip in the sea while Angus Fraser warns of nasty rips.

0036 - NZ 62-1:
Escape for Bell, pulling a short one from Broad just in front of a startled Pietersen at midwicket. Lots of short stuff from Basher; little profit so far. Ottis Gibson watches on from the boundary, perched atop a cooler-box, chewing his gum impassively.

0032 - NZ 62-1
Loose from Monty, a full bunger outside off which Fleming tucks into with the ease of Rob Key at a hotel breakfast buffet. Grimace from Monts.

0026 - NZ 56-1
Both Mrs Fleming Snr and Mrs Fleming Jnr are in attendance today for their son/husband's farewell. Distinctive snout/chin on the former, WAGesque large sunglasses on the latter. Easy two and single for the retiree.

0017 - NZ 53-1
Fleming gets off the mark with a shaky slash through point off Broad. 500 left to win. On the radio version of TMS, Angus Fraser is comparing Broad to Draco Malfoy.

From Neil in Western Australia: "A compilation of David Hirst's finest moments in the lunch break? Hope it included substitutions to pad it out."

Et tu, Neil? Are you Steve Bould in disguise?

0017 - NZ 48-1
Monty's still giddy with adrenaline after that. Vaughan calls him back into the room as England's players form a guard of honour for Stephen Flumming - it's the great thinker's final Test knock, of course.

0015 - WICKET - How lbw Panesar 11, NZ 48-1

Wicket falls
Loop from Mont, How is trapped on the front one going nowhere and Umpire Harper has no option. There's the breakthrough!

0014 - NZ 48-0
Basher Broad to Bell, and it's a tidy maiden - no great dramas from either man. Luncheon protein bars still settling in the gut, I imagine.

From Sarah in Bucks: "I met Chesney Hawkes once at a gig and he signed my friend's breasts. I imagine if Stuart Broad was asked to do the same, he'd go bright red."

0010: We're ready to go again, caffeinated to the eyelashes. Having just spent the lunch break watching a compilation of my favourite player's greatest moments on a popular video-sharing website, I'm feeling slightly emotional.

2330: LUNCH - NZ 48-0
Get your Thermos out - it's time for a breather. If you're in England and feeling a touch weary after the Bank Holiday high-jinx, I'll understand if you head pillowards. Everyone else - I'll see you after a stiff coffee in about 40 mins. Anyone want a Mini Egg?

From Williams Breden, Leicester: "This match must have the highest percentage of terrified-looking, 'If I get out my career is over' type batting that I've seen."

2325: NZ 48-0
Three singles off Mont, and we're drifting towards lunch like a jellyfish caught on a gentle spring tide.

Thank to those who spotted the error at 2310. For "pat" please read "bat". Nasty business.

2322: NZ 45-0
Broad, his blond locks hanging limply over his face like a sweaty Chesney Hawkes in the Top of the Pops studio in 1991, has a huge lbw appeal against Bell turned down. Bell panics through for the leg bye as Rudi Koertzen keeps his finger holstered.

From Craig Knowles: "To Jon in York: What's Vaughan saving the cheese and sandwiches from?"

2318: NZ 44-0
That's more like it from Monts - a twirly maiden, with How lusting after a late turner but failing to get a touch.

2314: NZ 44-0
Tight again from Basher - just a leg bye off the set of six. Mean look on Basher's face at the moment. 15 minutes to go until sandwiches.

From Jason Oliveira: "Just to clear things up, it was me calling David Hirst an underdog, not her. And her disappointment is all sporting - Black Caps are losing, being reminded David Hirst scored against the All Whites, better not mention France in October..."

2310: NZ 43-0
Monty to the fore, with a lovely looper of an opening delivery followed by a tuck away off the How hips for a brace. No great tweakage so far. Siders, relieved of his duties, squiggles a signature on a punter's pat down by the fence.

From Jon in York: "I often used to get the impression that Michael Vaughan¿s time in the field, with his calculating gaze and general air of Walsingham-esque cunning, was often spent plotting more than simply the downfall of proud Test-playing nations, but of empires and monarchies. Having met him, however, he¿s so wonderfully nice that I imagine he spends the time thinking about saving puppies, cheese and sandwiches."

2305: NZ 40-0
Steady as she goes from Basher, tearing in and landing them just short of a length. Monty yawns like a bearded sloth and absentmindedly adjusts his patka before feeling the heat of Skipper's glare and hurriedly swinging his arms around in businesslike fashion.

2301: NZ 40-0
This pitch is looking flatter than a 2D pancake again. Bell drives off the toe past mid-on for two and then drops a chunky anchor. Basher Broad is loosening up - looks like Jimmy's taking a blow.

From Dogger in Cardiff: "Had an absolute result with Straussy last night having bet £10 at 12/1 before this Test that he'd be the top scorer for England in the Series. Worked out this morning that his innings last night surpasses KP's totals by 11 runs, so a cool £120 for me."

2254: NZ 36-0
Small escape for the proddy How, his edge off a Siders slider falling just shy of Colly at slip. Bell then punches Jimmy square for two skimming fours, helps himself to another to the same spot and then does the same again next ball - 16 off four balls. Anxious nail-nibbling from Skipper Vaughan.

From Jason Oliveira: "My friend is all for the underdog (she supports the Highlanders after all, although that's rugby) and with the Black Caps losing there's only so much disappointment a girl can take."

Not quite sure what that means, Jason. Is she calling Hirstie an underdog, or me disappointing?"

2248: NZ 20-0
Bell clips Anderson to the square leg hoardings and puffs out his cheeks with ruddy relief. Ian Bell under the lid at short midwicket watches it whistle past.

From Kate on The Wirral: "With reference to James in York's offer to make me a full English breakfast for my birthday if England bowl out NZ by close today, I'm not sure from his tone what would be the favourable outcome. Cooking breakfast for me or the test going to a 5th day?"

2244: NZ 16-0
The swing's dried up for Siders, and with nothing happening off the seam this could be a long one. KP trots around at point, looking wistfully for a patch of limelight to stand in.

2240: NZ 14-0
Huge sigh of relief from the clanging Bell as he chops wildy at a wide one from Jimmy A and gets a sizzling edge just over the slips. Resolve stiffened, he leans back to a slower one and middles it with gusto.

From Jerry in Newhaven: "It seems only apt to mention (although I'm sure you don't need reminding) that David Hirst's one and only goal for England was against New Zealand."

A career cut short by the twin menaces of injury and thirst, Jerry. Had he been able to see those two off, we'd never have heard of Alan Shearer. Ish.

2236: NZ 6-0
Maiden from Siders, with How taking big strides down the track and covering up like a blushing Victorian spinster on Brighton beach.

From James in Plymouth: "David Hirst?! The Wednesday?! You've lost that girl then."

2232: NZ 6-0
Another single to How, leaving Bell high and dry on his quacker. Small amount of sunshine in Napier - the clouds appear to be backing off sheepishly towards the coast.

2227: NZ 5-0
How flicks Siders square to a flapping Monty to pick up a brace, before shouldering arms and coming within a skinny whisker of being cleaned up. Dangerous times out there.

From Paul in Lancs: "It seems clear that Siders is generating much of his swinging zippiness from his hair. In this he is clearly following in he footsteps of Samson, hirsute Israelite judge of the Old Testament. A quick scan of Judges indicates Samson was also partial to tearing apart lions, carrying off city gates and cavorting with Philistine prostitutes, as well as knocking down temples with his bare hands. I just hope Siders doesn't get carried away, or I can see him losing his match fee."

2223: NZ 2-0
Nervy from Bell, sitting atop a teetering pair. Good length from Jimmy Anderson, skidding them on and keeping the anxious one wobbly.

From Hitcho in Toronto: "Re Jason Oliveira's friend - big decision this, Tom - whatever you tell her could impact on your entire future happiness."

Hitcho - it's early stages to be making those sorts of predictions. I haven't been given a name yet, let alone a face or early details on a dowry. Let's keep hats in boxes for the time being.

2218: NZ 2-0
Useful from England's swinging assassin, bending them into the groping How before zipping one past the off timber. How tucks an uppish one past short square leg to open his account. A mere 551 required.

From James in York: " Kate on The Wirrall - if England bowl out New Zealand before the close today I'll cook you a whole English breakfast with nothing but just an apron on for your 39th birthday."

2210: Now then. New Zealand will have a minimum of 168 overs to climb this precipitous mountain. Siders to open from the Marine Parade end, his auburn curls bouncing in the Napier breeze. Jamie How to face.

ENGLAND SECOND INNINGS

2204: Eng 467-7 dec
Big heave-ho from the fresh-faced Broad, creaming one through the covers and then almost dislocating his shoulders with a towering maximum over mid-on. On that heady note, Skipper Vaughan waves 'em in - New Zealand will need 553 to win. Broad finishes on 31 not out off 26 balls, Siders 12.

From Jason Oliveira: "Good evening Tom. I'm just curious to know what football team you support. I have asked you this several times on the 606 forum but have never received a reply from you. I say I am curious to know (well I am) but someone I know (a girl) really wants know. Don't tell her I told you this but I think she loves you. Shhhhhhhh."

Thing is, Jason, as a BBC journo I'm supposed to be neutral. And the fact that my favourite footballer ever is David Hirst cannot affect that. On the other point, unusual for a girl's affections to be decided on such a thing, but admirable none the less.

2159: Eng 456-7
Chance for Patel, hurling at the non-strikers's timbers as Siders trundles through for a slow one. Singles all over the place, and England's lead is now 541.

2155: Eng 448-7
Youthful zest from Broaders, lashing one though extra cover moments after top-edging an attempted massacre high over mid-off.

From Kate on The Wirral: "Tom, I've got a bet with my hubby that England will have won by close of day 4. If I win I get coffee in bed tomorrow morning. It's my 39th birthday tomorrow so I think I deserve this anyway, surely? Or am I asking too much of both our cricket team and my husband?"

2150: Eng 437-7
Singles to Siders. Test cricket at its riveting best.

From Jeff in LA: "To kill some time at my boring project, I printed the Panesar cricket mask from the BBC cricket page and taped it under the seat in the women's loo. So far - 1.11 pm: scream. 1:18 pm: scream followed by laugh. 1.32 pm: sharp intake of breath followed by a series of moans."

2143: Eng 432-7
Siders and Broad to the fore, blocking as if the boot were not only on the other foot but on the other hand. Wicket looks like it's turning.

From Paul in Lancs: "I think Andrew Strauss may have less in common with Levi than he does with another namesake, compose Richard Strauss. Richard S once famously noted: 'I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer,' and that's kind of true of Andrew as a batsman."

Wicket falls
2138: WICKET Ambrose c & b Vettori 31, Eng 425-7
'Ooopla - Ambrose mis-times a boff to midwicket and gets a leading edge down the skipper's gullet. It's a day for wickets - get that declaration in...

Wicket falls
2134: WICKET Strauss c Bell b Patel 177, Eng 424-6
Double Test what? Levi goes, slashing wildy at a looper and hoicking it down to Matthew Bell at wide mid-off. That didn't take too long, did it? Broaders trots in as Strauss wafts his blade to all quarters.

2132: Eng 421-5
Easy peas early doors - five singles, and Levi is level with his highest ever first-class score. Danny V from one end, looks like Jeetan P at the other.

2128:
Right - here we go - Strauss and Ambrose to the middle. A glimpse there of Stuart Broad padded up, so it looks like misery to be piled on. At a decent lick, you'd hope.

2120, from Rich in Aylesbury: "Tom. And Tom. My theory is that Vaughan is going to ask Tiny Tim to sacrifice his wicket, and promote Monty in next to give him a chance of a maiden 50."

But what of Levi - any thoughts of his debut Test double-ton?

2110, from Thomas, TMS inbox: "If there was ever a time for a record run chase then this would be the time for it to happen. Look how easily and quickly England have put up the 416 they got already. I say bat the morning session and then go for it."

Anyone not christened Thomas want to get involved?

2100: From Tom, TMS inbox: "Why are England not declaring straight away to give them maximum time to bowl the Kiwis out?"

Tom - not only do you have a fine name, but you talk a whole heap of sense.

2055: Hello all - trust your Easters were restful and filled with happy japes. News from Napier is that England will bat on - which makes as much sense as concrete Easter eggs.


see also
NZ-England day 3 as it happened
23 Mar 08 |  England
NZ-England day 2 as it happened
23 Mar 08 |  England
NZ-England day 1 as it happened
22 Mar 08 |  England
England in New Zealand 2008
03 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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