SECOND TEST, Old Trafford (day two, stumps):
England 152-4 v New Zealand 381
England closed day two of the second Test 229 behind New Zealand at 152-4.
Ross Taylor hit five sixes in a majestic unbeaten 154, the highest by a New Zealander at Old Trafford.
He shared 113 with Jacob Oram and after two strange run outs in three balls, added 89 with Kyle Mills who hit seven fours and a six in a maiden Test fifty.
England replied in watchful fashion, Andrew Strauss reaching fifty in the 40th over, but Daniel Vettori troubled all the batsmen and finished with 2-40.
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1900: Right, in the end a top, top day for New Zealand. A sensational knock from Ross Taylor - with good support from Kyle Mills - allowed the Kiwi bowlers to apply the pressure with the ball and England's negative approach did them few favours in the end. A lot rests on the shoulder of Pietersen, Bell, Collingwood and Ambrose on day three, so join me tomorrow to see how they get on...
"New Zealand have dominated the day, credit to them, but England have really dug themselves into a hole."
Robs_All_Stars on 606
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CLOSE OF PLAY
1851 - Eng 152-4 (59 overs)
KP and Bell survive - although Vettori gets one to the former to rip and it narrowly misses the outside edge. England end play 152-4 and New Zealand are well and truly on top. Who would have predicted it would be England praying for rain come the end of day two?
1848 - Eng 151-4 (58 overs)
Nervy, nervy times as KP opts for a suicidal single and Bell gets away with it at the keeper's end when McCullum's shy at the stumps narrowly misses - the Shermanator would've been short of his ground there. The pair eke out four runs from the over, but neither look particularly convincing. Last over next up from Vettori.
1844 - Eng 147-4 (57 overs)
A single for Bell first up, off a no-ball, but England are scratching around nervously, praying for the clock to tick past 1900...
1840 - WICKET! Sidebottom c How b Vettori 4, Eng 145-4
Gasps all round from the Kiwi fielders as Ryan Sidebottom edges one through the slip cordon for four off Vettori. Gasps then turn to cheers as the nightwatchman does exactly the same next ball and it goes to Jamie How at second slip. Not good news for England, this, not good. Ian Bell is next up.
1839 - Eng 141-3 (56 overs)
Redmond's first over in Test cricket is a pretty decent one and a maiden. Vettori looking to prey on Pietersen's attacking instincts perhaps? Or are they just keen to finish off their overs for the day and get back for dinner?
"I am getting rather annoyed with the fact every time TMS mention the next batsmen or how well a batsmen is playing, the very next millisecond...he is out. Maybe they should see a voodoo queen to sort out their problem."
Adam, Sheffield via the TMS inbox
1835 - Eng 141-3 (55 overs)
Ryan Sidebottom - not without alarm - gets through the over. Surprisingly, Aaron Redmond, a leg-spinner, is going to turn his arm over at the other end now.
1832 - WICKET! Vaughan lbw Vettori 30, Eng 141-3
Yep, Coney's done for Vaughany - the England skipper getting a big stride in to Vettori but the spinner gets past his defence and Darrell Hair has little hesitation in giving him out lbw. Ryan Sidebottom strolls out as the nightwatchman.
1831 - Eng 141-2 (54 overs)
Another Mills over fails to trouble KP a great deal and he turns a couple off his legs to keep his personal score ticking over nicely.
1827 - Eng 139-2 (53 overs)
Vettori looks the man most likely to nip a wicket out before the end of play but Michael Vaughan cautiously sees his over off. Jeremy Coney is full of praise for the England skipper's approach to Vettori at the moment - which should cue him hoiking down a fielder's throat at any moment.
"You have to admire someone who makes quick, early, firm decisions. Early on day two of a five-day Test, Vaughan said: "We're going for a draw." What a leader of men."
fabuniquemembername on 606
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1823 - Eng 138-2 (52 overs)
Kyle Mills replaces Iain O'Brien, despite the latter's extremely miserly spell, and he immediately goes for four runs off the first two deliveries, Pietersen working him into the on-side well. A minor scare for Pietersen fourth ball when Martin throws down his stumps from the boundary edge, but the England man is home. Pietersen ends the over with a sublime clip for four through mid-on and that's 10 off the over.
"Why does Daniel Vettori spit so much. Is he ill or a budding Premiership prima donna?"
Alan Draper, Buckinghamshire via the TMS inbox
"I remember when Pietersen first came in and he would play unusual, attacking shots, but these days he's reigned that audacity in and he's looking at the defensive side of his game. I can't honestly say it's proved of benefit for him much of late."
Jeremy Coney on TMS
1819 - Eng 128-2 (51 overs)
Vettori has this ball singing at the moment and Vaughan and Pietersen are quite happy to get out of the over with a couple of singles and a no-ball.
1816 - Eng 125-2 (50 overs)
Maiden to O'Brien with Pietersen - perhaps trying to keep his head down after that lucky escape last over - failing to get the seamer away.
1812 - Eng 125-2 (49 overs)
What on earth?! Some of you have been saying England have had some harsh umpiring decisions this series, but they get a huge slice of luck when Daniel Vettori traps Pietersen plumb in front, the ball looking odds-on to hit middle halfway up, and umpire Darrell Hair turns the appeal down. Vettori somehow keeps his counsel, but he has to be fuming. Just that leg bye from the over.
1809 - Eng 124-2 (48 overs)
Iain O'Brien has really impressed on his return to the side in place of Tim Southee and he keeps Pietersen honest for five deliveries before the England batsman clips him through midwicket expertly for three.
1804 - Eng 121-2 (47 overs)
KP pinches a single off Vettori but Vaughan, predictably, keeps it rather tight.
1801 - Eng 120-2 (46 overs)
KP might be interested in that Avram Grant news, claiming as he does to be a Chelsea fan. Then again, if his team-mates are to be believed, he may only barely know who Grant is... Anyway, the big man watches from the other end as Michael Vaughan sends a thick edge down past the slip cordon and away for four, before Iain O'Brien zips a jaffa past his outside edge to end the over.
1800: BREAKING FOOTBALL NEWS
Not sure if any of you lot care, but Chelsea have sacked Avram Grant. Grant sacked as Chelsea manager
1759 - Eng 116-2 (45 overs)
Daniel Vettori brings himself back into the attack immediately, a Vaughan single coming off his return over and KP fencing away the only delivery he faces.
"To add to the Ashes debate - I am listening to TMS, reading you, watching the Aussies in West Indies while sitting in Dubai. don't know about the batting, but the new "Warne and McGrath" less bowling is about as fearsome as Anderson - Bad Jimmy that is. West Indies middle order putting them to the sword. Let's hope they don't find someone in the next 12 months like they normally do."
Andrew, Dubai via the TMS inbox
1755 - Eng 115-2 (44 overs)
Pietersen gets off the mark first ball, clipping a leg glance away for four. Wonder if he can keep that strike-rate up...
1752 - WICKET! Strauss c McCullum b O'Brien 60, Eng 111-2
Crackerjack catch! Strauss has to go and New Zealand's excellent perseverance pays off as the left-hander edges O'Brien behind and Brendon McCullum pouches a sensational catch diving low to his left one-handed. If anyone was wondering what a half-hour of Kevin Pietersen might bring to the party, you might be about to find out...
1748 - Eng 110-1 (43 overs)
Vaughan moves on to 23 from 95 balls with a pinched single off another tight Oram over.
"If you think back to 2005 and the way England went after the Australians - what on earth has happened to that aggression?! In the last Test and again in this, England are steadfastly refusing to go for the jugular."
Angus Fraser on TMS
1744 - Eng 109-1 (42 overs)
Vaughan gets his first run in 38 minutes - but he does his best to offer O'Brien a return catch, the ball falling short of the bowler on his follow-through.
1741 - Eng 108-1 (41 overs)
Four leg byes to open Oram's over but the all-rounder cuts an even more frustrated figure moments later when his lbw appeal against Strauss is turned down. Darrell Hair looks spot on again, the ball pitching outside leg and probably drifting down - good work sir.
"Random stat: Michael Vaughan hasn't scored a run in over half an hour!"
monsta666 on 606
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1736 - Eng 104-1 (40 overs)
Blimey, didn't see that over coming! Strauss clips one off his pads for four to bring up his 50 (off 125 balls, including five fours) and a couple more is followed by another boundary swung off his hips. Eleven from the over - perhaps Straussy has been reading this commentary...
1733 - Eng 93-1 (39 overs)
Jacob Oram is proving more miserly than my mate Tony on a night out at the moment, Strauss pinching a single off the over and that's it. Doug Litt has sent what I can only assume is one half of his university dissertation in to me via email on why England's "slow and ponderous" approach this innings is wrong. I'll spare you it in its entirety, but I make him right.
1728 - Eng 92-1 (38 overs)
Another accurate Vettori over, one to Strauss off it, the left-hander now unbeaten on 48.
1726 - Eng 91-1 (37 overs)
England continue to struggle to score off Oram, the Kiwi all-rounder yielding just the single off Strauss and causing a slight heart flutter from Vaughan when the home captain leaves one alone and it bounces narrowly over his middle stump.
"Sam, I am a batsman, and English. My average in all forms of cricket is well within single figures. I would probably go for less than Straussy in the IPL."
Tom Maynard, Purley, via the TMS inbox
1722 - Eng 90-1 (36 overs)
Shock! Straussy punts Vettori for a delightful boundary, all along the floor through midwicket for four. He then grabs a single but otherwise it's a nice, probing over from Vettori.
1719 - Eng 85-1 (35 overs)
Jacob Oram does what he does best - medium pace on the right line and length - and that's a maiden. A little word for those of you arguing a case for Vaughan and Strauss 'batting time' and what not at the moment - the forecast for Sunday and Monday is rain. Hurrumph.
1714 - Eng 85-1 (34 overs)
Strauss grabs a couple off Vettori's first delivery, but is then lucky not to get a nick on a Vettori doosra. Yes doosra. The left-hander then clips another couple through midwicket.
"England may not be doing a great deal with the ball but the Kiwis' approach is clearly to wait for a mistake from the batsmen - and a couple of times, Vaughan and Strauss have come close to obliging."
Bryan Waddle on TMS
1709 - Eng 81-1 (33 overs)
Darrell Hair - who has yet to give an lbw on his comeback Test - turns another vocal appeal from the Kiwis when Jacob Oram raps Strauss on the pads. It's high and outside the line, and Strauss pinches a single two balls later to get off strike. Vaughan plays and misses off the next ball - a rare false stroke from the England skipper.
1707 - Eng 80-1 (32 overs)
A quick refreshment and a quick chat between the batsmen - wonder how they feel this is going. Strauss shows signs of a more attacking intent as he steps down the wicket and times Vettori though midwicket for a three and a Vaughan single makes it four from the over.
1702 - Eng 76-1 (31 overs)
Jacob Oram - 'ripping' them through in the mid-70mph's - sends down a maiden and we'll have drinks.
1658 - Eng 76-1 (30 overs)
Vaughan rediscovers his timing to pinch a couple of twos of Vettori - and medium-pacer (see below) may have a point... ish.
"England have to bat time as well as they are batting last."
medium-pacer on 606
1654 - Eng 72-1 (29 overs)
Jacob Oram comes on to bowl and he almost takes out Vaughan's stumps first ball, the England skipper leaving one that nipped back and missed the top of middle by a hair's breadth. Close. An easy single towards the end of the over and England are riding their luck a bit at the moment - it's all New Zealand.
1651 - Eng 71-1 (28 overs)
Strauss is all over the place all of a sudden as he sends a leading edge off Vettori spooning past bemused Kiwi fielders wondering how it did not find themselves or a team-mate. Two from the over. Sheer sarcasm from waikato_fc below, of course, but it raises an interesting point - how much would Straussy go for in the IPL? In fact, would any England batsman command a lower fee?
"Surely Strauss can't keep on in this fashion ... does he think he's in the IPL? :p"
waikato_fc on 606
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1646 - Eng 69-1 (27 overs)
Chris Martin errs in length and Michael Vaughan latches onto it beautifully, timing the pants off it off his pads to spank a four through midwicket. The skipper then crunches a no-ball square but it is well fielded and he is restricted to a single. Strauss pinches a single at the end and that's seven off the over.
1643 - Eng 62-1 (26 overs)
Dropped! Strauss prods at one that spins from Vettori and he edges it straight to Ross Taylor at slip, but the all-rounder spills what looked a regulation chance. Replays suggest it flicked off wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum's pads on it's way to Oram, but if anything it slowed the ball down. Strauss responds with an ugly hoik to the on side, the pressure starting to tell.
1639 - Eng 60-1 (25 overs)
A leg bye from that Martin over and the run-rate has almost shuddered to a halt. Surely England need to be scoring far more heavily if they have any ambitions of overhauling the Kiwis' total and forcing a last-day scrap-off? Or have I just hit the nail on the head? Are England resigned to saving the match already? Oh dear. Meanwhile, over in Jamaica, Australia are turning the screw on the West Indies.
West Indies v Australia
"New Zealand have got England under control here. The ball's not doing anything special, the batsmen look comfortable, but the Kiwis are stopping them from scoring. It's all very quiet."
Angus Fraser on TMS
1634 - Eng 59-1 (24 overs)
Just a single for Strauss from that O'Brien over and this partnership is 'rattling' along at 1.76 an over.
"Out of interest, does one need a degree to become a professional cricket umpire? Im currently in the process of failing mine and appropriately re-adjusting my future employment options."
Goodlength84 on 606
"Vaughan and Strauss are playing well enough, but there's just nothing to go after. (Mr. Anderson take note)."
pxdphil on 606
1630 - Eng 58-1 (23 overs)
Huzzah! Andrew Strauss leans into a fuller Chris Martin delivery and eases it through midwicket for the first boundary for 52 deliveries. Otherwise it's as you were. Ho hum.
1626 - Eng 52-1 (22 overs)
Another maiden for Iain O'Brien and the main action appears to be in the crowd, where the stewards are attempting to break up a beer-cup-snake-thing. Sheer excitement.
"We're coming in at just under two-and-a-half per over again. Come back Trescothick!! Or is there an aggressive top six player on the verge of breaking into the side?"
flyinginabluedream on 606
"Vettori to bowl with the wind? He should take tablets for that."
MUFC10XPremChamps on 606
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1620 - Eng 52-1 (21 overs)
Strauss punches a couple off the back foot before New Zealand break the monotony with a half-hearted appeal for caught behind when Vettori spins one behind Strauss's legs - not given, rightly so.
1616 - Eng 49-1 (20 overs)
Just as in his last innings, Vaughan is proving watchful early in his innings and that's a maiden for O'Brien. By the way, for those of you interested in the footy and rugby as well today, check out Macca's, Sharpy's and Orlo's commentaries, web users can click on the links below.
Bristol City-Hull Championship play-off final
Scottish Cup final
Heineken Cup final
1612 - Eng 49-1 (19 overs)
Vettori wheels away round the wicket, even to Strauss the left-hander, but again he yields two singles and fails to get much out of this pitch, which is looking flatter by the minute.
1610 - Eng 47-1 (18 overs)
A couple of singles from O'Brien's second over after tea and softly, softly appears to be England's approach at the start of this session. Can't blame them for that, but I've yet to see any demons in this pitch, I must say.
1606 - Eng 45-1 (17 overs)
Vettori will again bowl from the Brian Statham end and he immediately turns one past Vaughan's defence. The England skipper slaps a long hop away for a single to point to end the over, but no great shakes out there at the moment.
1602 - Eng 44-1 (16 overs)
Iain O'Brien continues and Strauss pulls him away effortlessly for two off the second ball. Easy street for the rest of the over and England will be looking to make this three-hour session seem a whole lot longer for the Kiwi bowlers.
1558: The players are back in the middle and I'm back in the hot-seat after 10 minutes in the sunshine with the girl contestants from BBC One show 'I'd Do Anything' and that singing coach woman Carrie Grant. I'd be lying if I said I'd rather be here chatting with you lot.
"No great alarms for England in that session, bar Alastair Cook's spot of misfortune in being given out. The New Zealand dressing room will be a lot more tranquil than the hosts', though, I'd wager."
Vic Marks on TMS
1540 - Eng 42-1 (15 overs)
Michael Vaughan sees out Vettori's over without alarm and that's a maiden before tea. Brew anyone?
1537 - Eng 42-1 (14 overs)
Four for Strauss off his hips, flicking an ill-directed O'Brien delivery away to the boundary neatly. Daniel Vettori will take what is likely to be the last over before tea.
"There are 46 overs left in the day. Tea will be taken at the same time as usual, which means we are barely half-way through the overs for the day and yet it's nearly tea. We're looking at a 1900 BST finish."
Simon Mann on TMS
1533 - Eng 38-1 (13 overs)
Strauss nabs a single before Vaughan breaks the shackles with a textbook cover drive off a wide half-volley. Mickey V's trademark written all over that.
1529 - NZ 33-1 (12 overs)
England are well and truly becalmed. Another maiden and the crowd are grateful for the sunshine, the beer, the trumpeter and Ross Taylor. Alright, maybe not that third one, he'd do my nut in sat next to him all day. Oh, and for the record I take no responsibility for Cook's wicket no matter what you lot say. So nerrr.
1525 - Eng 33-1 (11 overs)
Third maiden on the trot from New Zealand, Martin beating Strauss's outside edge a couple of times as well.
1520 - Eng 33-1 (10 overs)
Michael Vaughan is the new batsman but he sees out the over comfortably. Hawkeye suggests that the Cook wicket was too high and missing down leg. Taufel may have been duped by just how much that ball jagged back off a scrambled seam. Unfortunate for the ladies' favourite.
1517 - WICKET! Cook lbw O'Brien 19, Eng 33-1
Well, that's the end of Cook as O'Brien gets one to rip back from off-stump to slap into the left-hander's pads in front of leg stump. Could well have been missing if you ask me, but a beauty of a delivery and Simon Taufel gives the decision the Kiwis' way.
1516 - Eng 33-0 (9 overs)
Chris Martin gets a bit excited as he raps Strauss on the pads, but the ball was way too high. A maiden over.
"What are the chances of a huge batting collapse by the top 9 but a double century partnership by Anderson and Panesar gets them a good total."
VidicIsALegend on 606
1511 - Eng 33-0 (8 overs)
O'Brien comes on for his first bowl of the series to replace Mills and Cook latches on to a wide one to crunch a three through square. A single off the last keeps England ticking over nicely.
1507 - Eng 29-0 (7 overs)
Right - potential commentator curse alert - but Strauss and Cook are starting to look comfortable against Mills and Martin. Cook grabs a couple through midwicket before pinching a single to mid-on and England are going at over four an over.
1503 - Eng 26-0 (6 overs)
Strauss gets scant reward for a nice drive that is well fielded by Vettori at mid-on, but then gets a slice of luck when he cuts Kyle Mills through point in the air but it flies by Jeetan Patel and away for four.
"I still think if New Zealand can tighten their lines a bit, they can have England batting rather nervously..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS
1459 - Eng 22-0 (5 overs)
Despite looking the less comfortable of the two batsmen, Cook grabs his third four of the innings, sending a leading edge down to third man. Chris Martin is a little hot and cold at the moment, bowling the odd delivery down the leg side, and Cook picks up another three with a nice push down the ground.
1454 - Eng 13-0 (4 overs)
First boundary of the innings as Cook top-edges over the slip cordon for four, and the left-hander then tonks one through point with aplomb.
1450 - Eng 5-0 (3 overs)
Martin squares Alastair Cook up nicely fifth ball but the leading edge goes straight to ground, and the left-hander gets off the mark off the final delivery, pinching a single off a defensive stroke into the off side.
1446 - Eng 4-0 (2 overs)
Kyle Mills will share the new ball with Martin and after yielding a couple of runs on the leg side when Strauss nudges off his hips, he garners a genuine edge off the left-hander, only for it to drop short of the slips. Escape, that.
1441 - Eng 1-0 (1 over)
Martin, fresh from his batting masterclass, sends down a decent opening over. Not too much to trouble Strauss, though the left-hander does play at one that goes by his outside edge before he grabs a single.
1438: Play is held up by an inflatable shaped like a, erm, what would the BBC call it? Let's say shaped like a missile. England's batsmen look on as if in fear that it will expose their weakness outside the off-stump, before it finally blows off the field and we can resume...
1436: It's quite amusing watching the Kiwis come out for this England innings. Having started the series as massive underdogs, they are no bounding around like children on a school outing to a sweet factory. In consecutive innings - in the last Test and now this - they have put England's bowlers to the sword with the bat and are now looking to press home their advantage with the ball. Massive hour, this, before tea for England.
NEW ZEALAND INNINGS
"England are a great example of the 'whole' being less than the sum of the 'parts'. Great on paper - but they just don't gel. V similar to the footy team. Need a knew management structure. Root and branch... root and branch."
Phil, on TCR, via text
"England have got quite some batting to do. They've not been good today - a couple of run-outs that were more down to poor form from the Kiwis than top work from the hosts - and then Ross Taylor really punished them at the end. Deary me."
Angus Fraser on TMS
1427 - WICKET! Martin b Anderson 0, NZ 381 all out (90.3 overs)
England can take it. Anderson loosens Chris 'the Bunny' Martin up with a sharp bouncer and then takes out his off stump with a straight one. Ross Taylor is left stranded on 154, but it's advantage New Zealand, without a doubt.
"Ross Taylor is a good player, but we are making him look like Richards, Gilchrist and Dhoni rolled into one! Pfffft."
adhunt on 606
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1426 - NZ 381-8 (90 overs)
Pure nonchalance from Taylor - spanking Sidebottom on the slog sweep for another tremendous six. He shrugs in recognition of his 150 - off 172 balls, 17 fours, five sixes - brilliant. Taylor is now the fifth-highest run-scorer in Tests in 2008. Just that scoring shot from the over, though. Daniel Flynn definitely will not bat, apparently, so England now have a chance to nip out Martin and end their misery - can they take it?
1420 - NZ 375-8 (89 overs)
Ross Taylor got up the other end with that ball in the air off O'Brien's top-edge, much to England's disappointment, and he goes about his business, trying to smash the leather off every ball. He misses with a couple, but then sends one absolutely miles for six off another Anderson bouncer. He then grabs a single off the last and the onslaught will continue...
1415 - WICKET! O'Brien c Bell b Anderson 5, NZ 368-8
Anderson bumps one in, O'Brien goes for the hook, but it top-edges to Ian Bell at short leg. Simple.
1414 - NZ 368-7 (88 overs)
More overthrows as Pietersen's shy at the stumps catches Michael Vaughan in an awkward position and it flies past the wicket and away for four. Sidebottom is not amused. He is even less so moments later when Taylor tonks him for six off a mow, Stuart Broad unfortunate to palm it over the ropes attempting a spectacular catch. Taylor then absolutely murders one at Ian Bell in the covers - harsh to call it a chance, but it was on the full. What fun!
1408 - NZ 357-7 (87 overs)
As Simon Mann on TMS notes, it's like a one-day game with Taylor on strike now, he's swiping at everything. He grabs three twos and then edges one down to third man for a fluky four and Anderson continues to leak runs by the bucketload - 11 off that over.
"Re: 1353....Simon Gregson. I think it's your Aussie charm that always wins us over."
Ste Pritchard, Warrington via the TMS inbox
"I wish I could tell Stephen Gregson (1353) to naff off. But he's got a point."
Owen, London via the TMX inbox
1404 - NZ 346-7 (86 overs)
Smashed! Ross Taylor will not hang around with Iain O'Brien at the other end and he kerplunks Ryan Sidebottom back over his head for six first ball. An expensive over ends with Sid appealing for caught behind off O'Brien, but his bat and gloves were nowhere near the ball.
"No great celebrations from Anderson or the England boys and I wonder if that partnership has taken the sting out of this match for them? Do England not fancy themselves to take 20 wickets on this pitch?"
Vic Marks on TMS
1357 - WICKET! Mills b Anderson, NZ 339-7 (85 overs)
Kyle Mills goes, moments after picking up a five when a Michael Vaughan shy at the stumps missed and went for overthrows. Anderson gets one to zip off the surface a bit and Mills can only chop onto his stumps attempting a cut stroke. England celebrations are muted, do they feel the horse has bolted in this match?
"I'm standing with a few members of the Kiwi team and Daniel Flynn will not come in next - he was feeling groggy again over lunch. If he is needed, though, he will bat with a runner and with a reinforced helmet."
Alison Mitchell on TMS
"I know the Ashes is important and all - but I wouldn't even start thinking about it until you polish off a team like us. Two wickets a session against NZ, who are determined to self-implode, is hardly going to strike fear into the Aussies."
Geoff Caradus via the TMS inbox
1353 - NZ 331-6 (84 overs)
Ryan Sidebottom continues but he can do little to prevent Mills edging to a maiden Test half century off 74 deliveries. Excellent counter-attack from the number seven and if these two stay together until tea, New Zealand will be laughing.
"A keen Aussie following your coverage at work... Your lads need to get this pair out otherwise you will be chasing up over 450 and have no chance of getting a win... On this form the Ashes will be over before it starts. Punter and the boys are coming for Revenge for 2005 and your weak, insipid, inconsistent, lot are gonna get steam rolled!!!"
Steven Gregson, Melbourne via the TMS inbox
1348 - NZ 328-6 (83 overs)
Ross Taylor edges one short of the slips for a couple to kick off the over and Anderson has him in more trouble when he chases a wide one and then has a couple ripped past his outside edge. More like it from Jimmy A, that.
1345 - NZ 325-6 (82 overs)
Ryan Sidebottom has Ross Taylor grimacing with a riser into the arm, but three singles make it an otherwise comfortable start to the session for New Zealand.
1340: A lot of love for this team for the Ashes next year on email, text and 606 - Cook, Strauss, Vaughan (cpt), Pietersen, Bell, Collingwood, Ambrose (wkt), Flintoff, Sidebottom, Simon Jones, Panesar. No Broad there, then. Nor Hoggard, Harmison, Anderson. And the majority of you are quite happy with the wicket-keeper. Some cracking chat on 606 on this - can we trust Simon Jones and Flintoff to be fully fit, at the same time, for the duration against the Aussies? AND in a four-man bowling attack?
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1339: The players are back out, your Ashes Test teams are rolling in, and we'll be under way in a mo, Ryan Sidebottom taking the first over after lunch. News is that Daniel Flynn will bat next.
1303: Right, with Taylor (115no) and Mills (46no) threatening to take this game away from England, I'll join the boys in grabbing a bit of nosebag. When I return I want to know your England team for the Ashes as it stands - first man out of the side, Anderson?
1301 - NZ 322-6 (81 overs)
The new ball is taken straight away, but Vaughan keeps faith with Anderson. Mills picks up a couple off the first but then survives a huge shout when he is rapped on the pads by a straight one. Darrell Hair shakes his head but hawkeye suggests it was hitting leg stump halfway up. Hhmmm. Ross Taylor then survives when he thick edges one over the slips for four - Collingwood got a finger on that. Eventful last over of the session, that's lunch, and that's New Zealand's session.
"Unashamedly jumping on the Flynn-bashing bandwagon, I broke my jaw in 2 places playing rugby a couple of months ago, played till the end of the game, lifted the trophy (Hospitals Cup Final since you asked), nipped off to hospital to have it operated on, then back home in time for tea and medals. They don't make Kiwis like they used to."
Tom Maynard, Purley via the TMS inbox
1256 - NZ 315-6 (80 overs)
Paul Collingwood will take the last over before what will surely see the return of Broad and Sid with the new ball and the Ginger Ninja keeps things tight, yielding just a single.
1251 - NZ 314-6 (79 overs)
I really can't get my head round Jimmy Anderson at times. When he's hot, he's very hot, but when he's not - like now - he leaks more runs than a six-month old baby on a diet of Indian food. Ross Taylor clips him for a couple off his legs before punching one through the covers on the rise for a glorious four. A wide rounds off a tame over and Anderson is now going at nearly six an over.
1246 - NZ 307-6 (78 overs)
Mills carries on with abandon, sweeping Monty for four past Vaughan at fine leg, and this partnership is looking increasingly dangerous. How England need that new ball.
1243 - NZ 303-6 (77 overs)
Anderson brings out the short stuff to Mills but, after the number seven snatches a single, Jimmy drifts down the leg side and Ross Taylor easily clips him away for four.
1239: After a couple of minutes' treatment from physio Kirk Russell, Belly continues without leaving the field. Daniel Flynn take note...
1236 - NZ 298-6 (76 overs)
Ross Taylor is finally back on strike and he dashes through for a close-call two to move nearer a second Test hundred. Panesar appeals when he raps the right-hander on the pad, but Taylor hit it and it struck him outside the line and the batsman then dabs one into the on side for a single and that's his century. Joy unconfined from the 24-year-old - fair play to the lad. Mills then sweeps Panesar for four before smashing one against the back of Ian Bell's head on the sweep again, the Shermanator turning his back at short leg and coming off rather badly.
"Paddy in London's story of Buck Shelford (1218) has inspired me to suggest another icon for your commentary. Dig out a photo of the great Buck, and use it for "no ball"."
David Russell via the TMS inbox
1232 - NZ 290-6 (75 overs)
Jimmy Anderson comes on but Kyle Mills cares not a jot as he kerplunks a dreamy cover drive for four to move to his highest Test score. Just that scoring shot off the over, but this partnership is already 40.
"Apparently the air coming off some cooking potatoes set off a fire alarm in the stands just now and, had some quick-witted lad not turned said alarm off inside four minutes, play would have had to have been suspended as the entire ground was evacuated under standard procedure. Phew!"
Alison Mitchell on TMS
1227 - NZ 286-6 (74 overs)
Mills's best Test score, people, is 31. Well he looks a much better player than that as he smashes Panesar clean through the line over the covers for four. He moves on to 29 not out off 37 balls and Taylor remains off strike.
1224 - NZ 281-6 (73 overs)
Mills continues to attack and he top-edges a Sidebottom riser over the keeper's head and away for a one-bounce four. The tail-ender continues to farm the strike and you wonder how Taylor is dealing with that at the other end, twiddling his thumbs.
1218 - NZ 275-6 (72 overs)
Taylor is suddenly becalmed and he can only pinch a single off Panesar. According to the TMS crew, a decision on whether Daniel Flynn will bat or not will be left "until the very last minute". As Paddy in London points out via text, he's no Buck Shelford is he?! The famous Kiwi rugby star played on despite having a testicle ripped out of his scrotum at the bottom of a scrum against France in the late 1980s. Run it off son, run it off...
Buck's All Blacks fizz
1215 - NZ 274-7 (71 overs)
Ryan Sidebottom is starting to bend his back a little and he's getting the ball past Mills, who is not backward in coming forward out there. And just to show that, he punches one straight down the ground for four off the last ball.
1212 - NZ 270-7 (70 overs)
Well, well, well... Kyle Mills is not holding back, here. Showing he's no mug with the bat, he slog-sweeps Monty for six, much to the spinner's quite evident chagrin. A single off the last again keeps Taylor off strike, so he must wait for that century.
1209 - NZ 263-6 (69 overs)
Ryan Sidebottom comes on to give Broady a blow and he has Mills flailing at a wide one that edges through gully for four. The right-hander pinches a single late in the over and Sid keeps Taylor quiet to give Monty another go at Millsy next up.
"Flynn can't bat before lunch so if England can nip out a couple more that would be it you would think."
Angus Fraser on TMS
1204 - NZ 258-6 (68 overs)
Panesar has a go at Mills, but the right-hander plays out the over well, bat in front of pad at all times. A single off the last delivery keeps him on strike.
1202 - NZ 257-6 (67 overs)
Stuart Broad continues - what a couple of lengthy spells he's put in this Test already - and he yields just one single from Mills off a good, tight over until Ross Taylor pokes one through square for four. England need to keep the pressure on here, with Taylor on 95 not out.
"Huge test for Ross Taylor. Will he stay calm or start going for agricultural hoiks through nerves? They are effectively seven down."
OldRegret on 606
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1155 - NZ 252-6 (66 overs)
Monty Panesar, fresh from his fielding duties, turns his arm over and only the slightest of inside-edges prevents Ross Taylor being trapped lbw from over the wicket. More good work from Taufel giving that not out. Two singles from the over.
"The most wasteful run-out I've ever seen! Quite simply brilliant umpiring."
Vic Marks on TMS
1152 - WICKET! Vettori run out 1, NZ 250-6
Unbelievable! Daniel Vettori dinks one off his pads for what looks a simple two. Monty Panesar - the fielding genius - throws into Ambrose, who whips off the bails, but Vettori looks well home. Simon Taufel signals for the TV replays anyway, much to everyone's bemusement, but they show Vettori did not ground his bat and he is out, feet in the air, fully a yard inside his crease. The Kiwi skipper goes and England are into the tail.
1147 - WICKET! Oram run out 38, NZ 249-5
Breakthrough! Cracking work from Alastair Cook at point, latching onto a Ross Taylor prod and throwing down the stumps with Jacob Oram lazily jogging through for a single. Third umpire Ian Gould barely hesitates in giving him out from the TV replays and that is exactly what England needed, especially with Daniel Flynn unable to bat.
1144 - NZ 249-4 (64 overs)
Ross Taylor tonks Panesar over mid-on for four and then Ambrose does him few favours a couple of deliveries later as the wicket-keeper allows a leg-side delivery to roll away for another boundary. And then a drop! Oram punts one high to mid-on one-handed but Anderson fails to cling on to it dropping over his shoulder and he can only palm it over the fence for four. Thirteen off the over.
1140 - NZ 236-4 (63 overs)
Broad continues and he is the one bowler who has had the Kiwis playing and missing this morning. He does so again as Oram misses with an attempted hook off a short ball that Ambrose fails to cling on to behind the stumps anyway, but this pair bring up the century partnership with a Taylor nudge off his pads.
"Moores's team talk this morning seems to be along the lines of, 'make sure we test every bit of the pitch and avoid decent lines and lengths'."
Mike, London via text
(A cunning approach that, the Kiwis won't have seen it coming... SL)
1136 - NZ 232-4 (62 overs)
Monty's on and he thinks he might have had Ross Taylor caught down the leg side but it brushed the pad and not the bat. Couple of singles off the over. As for Flynn, I don't know what he's moaning about, I had eight milk teeth removed at the same time when I was 12 and I didn't make a fuss at all, na-uh. Admittedly it meant all I could eat was ice cream for about a week... actually, without that spell on the sweet stuff I might be even more of an Adonis than I am now. A frightening thought, that.
"How do you know it's the real Sarah in Canterbury below, and not someone exploiting her TMS 'celebrity' status to get their point in print? Perhaps you use a recognised code word, like 70's terrorists used to do."
Andy, Nottingham via the TMS inbox
1133 - NZ 229-4 (61 overs)
Ross Taylor gets an edge on a Broad delivery but it drops way short of the slip cordon and he pinches a single. Broad then has Oram wafting at another wide one without success and the frustration is already a little evident in the England players. In other news, Daniel Flynn is unlikely to bat, apparently, after undergoing emergency dental work last night. The Kiwi batsman, who was hit in the mouth by a James Anderson bouncer, had the remainder of two more teeth - in addition to the one he lost immediately after impact - removed and is now suffering nausea and vomiting and is in no fit state to play. Ouch.
1126 - NZ 227-4 (60 overs)
No swing, no seam and all of a sudden this pitch looks a beauty. Easy as you like for Oram, who pinches three runs off Sidebottom without breaking sweat.
"Looking at the story on the dangers of cricket (check out Oliver Brett's piece with Kent captain David Fulton) I reckon Daniel Flynn wants to get his pads on and count himself lucky. Ouch, was a real eye opener!"
Brookie, Newc via text
Video warns of cricket danger
1123 - NZ 223-4 (59 overs)
Taylor is starting to motor and he punts a fuller Broad delivery back down the ground, a little uppishly but otherwise safe, for four. A couple more to end the over and the tourists are more than comfortable.
"That's going to be a really important part of this session if the Kiwis can attack. As the England bowlers contend with the wind, what happens if this pair get hit to all parts? Who does he turn to?"
Jeremy Coney on TMS
1119 - NZ 216-4 (58 overs)
Taylor really does have a bit about him, displayed all too well for England's liking as he kerplunks a beauty of a cover drive for four. Sidebottom responds with a bouncer so high it almost zips over the keeper and it's signalled a wide.
1114 - NZ 211-4 (57 overs)
First boundary of the day for New Zealand as Ross Taylor punches Stuart Broad through square off the back foot - touch of class about that shot - but the Kiwi almost edges behind next ball with a wild swipe at a wide one. Decent end to the over as he passes the bat a couple of times but no joy for Broady.
"Morning Sam. My prediction is that I might drag myself out of bed in the next 10 minutes and make a coffee. Think the odds are quite high, though it might just slip to 15."
Sarah, Canterbury via the TMS inbox
(What is this? Make Sam miserable about being in work day? All right, fair enough, I suppose my job isn't too bad, but still...SL)
1109 - NZ 206-4 (56 overs)
A leg bye and no ball to start the over as Ryan Sidebottom gets off to a tentative start, but the Notts seamer rips a beauty past Oram's outside edge fifth ball. Close.
"Has the Kiwi attack lost a bit of their bite?"
Stuart, Germany in the TMS inbox
"It's nearly 6pm in Taiwan, hot and humid as ever, perfect time to open a beer and settle in for some cricket action. Three cheers for the boffins who make it possible from me to listen to TMS online!"
Trick, Taipei via the TMS inbox
1103 - NZ 204-4 (55 overs)
The wind is playing havoc with the bails early doors and yet, somehow, big Darrell Hair appears unmoved and unaffected. How strange. Oram gets going with a flick off his pads for two, and the day is just three balls old before Broad tests the left-hander out with a bouncer. Broad zips another couple by throat high after switching round the wicket but Oram sways out of the way nicely.
1059: The England team stream out onto the pitch, have a quick cuddle, and judging by those bright white tops of their's there is a fair old wind blowing. Looks like young Stuart Broad will take the first over.
"Do you think New Zealand will come out fighting tooth and nail this morning?"
Graham, St Albans via the TMS inbox
1055: Well, Old Trafford really is bathed in sunshine at the moment - anybody reading this there? Get in touch and let us know what it's like - conditions, atmosphere, predictions... whatever...
1050: Paul Collingwood, speaking on the outfield, admits it was "a shame" England couldn't nip out Jacob Oram late last night - he'll be a key wicket for the hosts this morning I reckon. A spell of him and Ross Taylor tonking England to all parts and Mooresy's men may find themselves out of the game before it's really begun.
"England need quick wickets this morning, at least two, if not three or four."
yorker_129-7 on 606
(Or five, or six... SL)
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1045: Morning folks, how we doing?
It's a bit of a beauty out at Old Trafford by all accounts so, after a curtailed day's play on Friday, we should be looking at a darn good slice of the 98 overs that are due today at least.
Lest we forget, New Zealand resume on 202-4 - a bit more than England will have wanted, a little less than the Kiwis were after I should imagine - and the word is that Daniel Flynn may or may not bat minus his front teeth. Bit slack if he doesn't if you ask me - distinct lack of gum-ption (sorry) that - but, anyway, I'll keep you posted.
Don't forget to get involved via email, 606*, text on 81111, smoke signal, carrier pigeon or why not pop down to Shepherd's Bush and say hello in person at Television Centre?**
* A quick thanks to Robs_All_Stars, whose Eng-NZ 2nd Test 606 thread I've jumped on the back of. Nice work son.
** Disclaimer: Messages sent via smoke signal or carrier pigeon are unlikely to be used, while any unauthorised person/stalker 'popping' into BBC TVC is likely to be turned away and/or arrested.