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Lower order keeps New Zealand afloat

England continued to chip away with wickets and picked up two crucial wickets to inch closer to a series-levelling win in Christchurch on Tuesday (April 3). New Zealand went into the Tea break at 191 for 6 needing 191 more. With Tim Southee struggling with fitness, it’s highly likely New Zealand have just three wickets remaining.
England got rid of BJ Watling and Tom Latham – the duo that frustrated England in the first session after an initial burst – but with bad light coming into the picture, the hosts will fancy their chances of saving the Test. They started the session on 124 for 4 but soon lost Watling to a baffling shot. The right-hander walked across the stumps expecting a short ball from Mark Wood from around the wicket. He, then however, glanced a full ball straight to leg slip to fall for 19 off 66.

With the ball going soft and not offering much, England needed something to happen. Fortunately for them, Watling and Latham made it easy for them. Latham fought hard for most parts of the day even as wickets continued to tumble. He was eventually dismissed for 83 off 207 when he was caught at square leg off Jack Leach trying to sweep a ball from the rough.

Colin de Grandhomme teased England by offering several chances but the visitors failed to grab them. Ish Sodhi toughed it out and weathered the storm with some gutsy play as England continued to search for the seventh wicket. Sodhi too was dropped at silly point and was lucky to get away with a few as England’s desperation grew under fading light.

The day started with plenty of hope but New Zealand were rattled pretty early in the day. In fact, they were dented by Stuart Broad who dismissed Jeet Raval and Kane Williamson on the first two balls of the day to give England a much-needed boost. While Raval flicked a leg-stump half-volley to square leg, Williamson was caught behind after he edged one back-of-a-length delivery to the ‘keeper to pick up the first golden duck of his career.

Brief scores: England 307 & 352/9 dec (James Vince 76; Colin de Grandhomme 4-94) lead New Zealand 278 & 191/6 (Tom Latham 83; Stuart Broad 2-40) by 191 runs.

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