Today’s play is one of the few in this series where England can say they held the advantage, though much more will be required to win this test match and square the series in Hamilton.
England began at a precarious 39/2 with Joe Root and Rory Burns looking nervy but still not out overnight as centuries from the pair helped the tourists to 269-5 at stumps – 106 runs behind New Zealand’s 375.
The England captain must have arrived at the crease knowing he was in dire need of a decent score. He duly delivered this time, batting patiently for over six hours to register his first triple figure score since the tour of the West Indies in February.
By far Root’s slowest century, he gave away very few chances and will be pleased to have led from the front from a batting point of view.
He has kept England in the game and allowed himself to put words into action having spoken frequently about the team needing to bat for long periods of time.
For the best part of two sessions, England did not lose a wicket while Root combined with Burns who registered a century of his own.
Their partnership of 177 runs was broken just before tea when Burns was run out in an extremely close decision which required two separate camera frames to be combined in order for it to be adjudicated successfully.
In a rain reduced evening session, England lost two further wickets including that of debutant Zak Crawley for 1 and Ben Stokes for 26 which swung the pendulum back towards New Zealand.
Root remained not out at the close on 114 with wicketkeeper Ollie Pope.
With all three results still possible in this match, England will need to press on in the morning to first gain parity with New Zealand and build a lead.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 1, 2019
New Zealand will be looking to finish the England innings off quickly and set a target with enough time left to bowl England out again.
The pitch has remained fairly docile all match, but is likely to deteriorate as the game moves into its fourth and fifth day. On several occasions in Hamilton, the side batting last has been bowled out inside two sessions.
On a day which belonged to Root and Burns, they will hope that their scores will inspire the team to regain some confidence ahead of their upcoming tour of South Africa. The bowling attack will surely thank them for a period of rest, especially having been in the field for 201 overs in Mount Maunganui.
Play resumes tonight at 930pm.