England Build 296-Run Advantage On Day Three
England pressed home a substantial advantage on day three of the second and final Test against New Zealand at Headingley, choosing not to enforce the follow-on to lead by 296 runs at stumps.
14 wickets fell in the day as England were dismissed for 354 only to respond by bowling New Zealand out for just 174 and the home side, led by an unbeaten Alastair Cook half-century, closed on 116 for one in their second innings.
Graeme Swann (4-42) and Steven Finn (3-36) played the starring roles with the ball for England before Cook made seemingly inexorable progress towards another Test century to put England in what is surely an unassailable position with two days remaining.
England began the day poorly, losing Matthew Prior without adding to his overnight score of 39 but some useful runs from Graeme Swann (26 not out) delayed New Zealand's batting until Trent Boult returned figures of five for 57 by bowling Steven Finn for six and having James Anderson caught and bowled without scoring.
New Zealand got off to a fine start to their innings as openers Peter Fulton (28) and Hamish Rutherford (27) added 55 for the first wicket in good time. After Finn had Fulton caught and bowled, however, England quickly re-asserted their authority on proceedings as wickets tumbled throughout the afternoon.
Finn quickly had Rutherford caught by Ian Bell and his third wicket came when he bowled Ross Taylor for six. Swann lived up to his impressive knack of taking a wicket in the fuirstfirst over of a spell when he bowled Dean Brownlie for two and he would repeat the trick to remove Martin Guptill for one.
Kane Williamson, comfortably New Zealand's most accomplished batsman of the series, made 13 in 50 balls before he too fell to Swann, takingwho was taking full advantage of the rough patches outside off stumps kicked up by New Zealand's left-armers Boult and Neil Wagner.
Stuart Broad then got in on the act to have Brendon McCullum caught behind for 20 and Tim Southee trapped in front for 19; a successful review on England's part after he had driven the ball to mid off after it flicked his pad.
Swann then removed Doug Bracewell for one and New Zealand at least finished with a flourish, last-wicket pair Wagner (27) and Boult (24 not out) added 52 to frustrate England. Their stand was finally ended when Wagner was bowled by Anderson.
England opted not to enforce the follow-on but instead build their lead and by stumps they were well ahead but the approach of the batsmen differed wildly.
While Alastair Cook played fluently for his 88 in 132 balls with 13 fours, Nick Compton (7 in 45 balls) and Jonathan Trott (11 in 69) were far more circumspect. While Compton was clearly struggling for any sort of fluency, Trott played as Trott does, putting his shots away and frustrating the bowlers.
With New Zealand's attack a man down due to Boult aggravating a side injury, England may face a few questions about whether they could have been more aggressive as the day went on but with a lead as big as they have, this was nevertheless unquestionably their day.
© Cricket World 2013
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