Well, bugger me! Two moments of foolishness and NZ are right back in this. After displaying such admirable restraint all day, Finn suddenly tried to slog-sweep the spinner out of the ground and duly fell lbw. Next over Root reacted slowly to Bell’s ambitious call for a single and was run out by a direct hit.
Enter Prior. McCullum promptly takes his spinner off and brings back Wagner for his 39th over. The new ball is due in two overs. England are 100 runs on, but McCullum in T20 mode could knock them off in eight overs! The off side is peppered with catchers.
8 runs off the last over with the old ball. Now here comes Southee with the new one. Seaming away extravagantly off the pitch.
Boult to share the new ball. He’s so far conceded only 43 runs from 32 overs.
Coming up to the last hour. After only eight overs with the new ball, McCullum has brought back Martin the spinner. England are 128 on, but it’s hard to imagine McCullum settling for the draw. On the other hand, can he reasonably ask his bowlers to keep flogging a dying horse when they’ve been at it for two days already and will only get three days’ rest before the 2nd Test?
The answer, after the drinks break, is no.
So that’s it. After being rolled over ignominiously in the first innings, England have saved the game. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will fare against these diligent and accurate NZ bowlers on a more responsive strip up in Wellington.