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England show better fight with bat in second innings but still an uphill task awaits them on final day

Joe Root's (right) finger injury proved costly for England
Joe Root's (right) finger injury proved costly for England
©REUTERS
 

England 58 & 132-3 (Stoneman 55) v
New Zealand 427-8 (Nicholls 145no)
First Test, Auckland, day four
Scorecard

Joe Root and Mark Stoneman scored half centuries for England in the second innings but despite that the visitors head into the final day with an uphill task of trailing New Zealand by 239 runs with seven wickets in hand in the first Test in Auckland.

After a couple of rain dampened days, the play finally resumed with New Zealand placed at 233 for four. After a cautious beginning, Henry Nicholls (145 not out) opened up with a couple of boundaries but the 54 run stand for the fifth wicket with BJ Watling (31) ended when Stuart Broad (3-78) had him caught behind.

Colin de Grandhomme (29) looked aggressive from the outset hitting five boundaries and a six and his arrival also had an effect on Nicholls as he also stepped up the accelerator.

The duo shared a productive 49 run stand which ended when de Grandhomme top edged a Craig Overton (1-70) delivery to the keeper. Todd Astle (18) and Tim Southee (25 not out) too made valiant contributions but the decisive knock came from Nicholls, who completed his second Test century and batted all the way through until the Black Caps decided to declare their innings at 427 for eight.

Trailing New Zealand by 369 runs, England suffered an early setback when Trent Boult (2-24) had Alastair Cook (2) caught behind down the leg side.

England managed just 25 runs in the first 10 overs before Root (51) and Malan (55) hit three boundaries combined to take the score to 38 for one by the dinner break.

The duo brought the 50-run stand in the 18th over. Stoneman reached his half-century with a four and a six before he top edged to fine leg to give Neil Wagner (1-32) his first wicket in the game.

Root brought his 38th fifty and was looking good before Boult hit him on the thumb. The incident did affect his momentum as he was caught behind in the next delivery and England ended the day with a score of 132 for three. They still trail New Zealand by 237 runs.

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