92nd over: England 245-4 (Root 95, Crawley 0) Stokes had looked in excellent nick, but suddenly his innings is done, and Zak Crawley is in to face his first ball in Test cricket. He negotiates it safely enough.
WICKET! Stokes c Taylor b Southee 26 (England 245-4)
Stokes edges to first slip, where Ross Taylor takes an excellent low catch!
91st over: England 245-3 (Root 95, Stokes 26) Ooooof! Wagner’s delivery bounces low, goes well under Stokes’s bat and misses leg stump by a couple of inches at most. Root has scored one Test century this year; he has scored two or more every year since 2012, when he played only one match.
90th over: England 244-3 (Root 95, Stokes 25) Southee has a go with the new new ball. and Root takes another stride towards a ton, working the ball to the third man boundary.
89th over: England 239-3 (Root 91, Stokes 24) The new ball is swapped for a different new ball, the old new ball having already lost its shape. “We’ve got six rock-hard avocados on our kitchen table,” sniffs Mike Atherton. “I reckon they’d be more interesting to bowl with than a Kookaburra ball.” He then launches into a impassioned tirade about the disappointing quality of Kiwi avocados, and their inability ever to ripen. Root, who unlike a New Zealand avocado does seem to be approaching peak condition, moves into the 90s with a splendid cover drive.
88th over: England 235-3 (Root 87, Stokes 24) Henry bowls, and Stokes leans back to blatter the ball wide of mid-off for four. Stokes is looking pretty good, and has scored 60% of his runs through boundaries (pretty much the same as Burns; Root’s hovering at about 40%).
87th over: England 231-3 (Root 87, Stokes 20) Wagner’s back, and he asks a few new questions. His first ball is a decent yorker, which Root jabs his bat down into. Then one straightens nicely, and Root again just about gets his bat in the way. The bowler then calls on the groundsman, who smacks the turf where Wagner’s foot has been landing with a large metal hammer for a while, before Wagner grabs the hammer himself and has a bash. That’ll sort it. Maiden.
86th over: England 231-3 (Root 87, Stokes 20) At 239, this is now Joe Root’s fifth-longest Test innings in terms of balls faced. The four still above it were all played at home, and only one of them in the last five years: at No1, the 406-ball 254 against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2016. This, then, is his longest innings as captain.
85th over: England 230-3 (Root 86, Stokes 20) Great economy of effort from Stokes, who goes down on onee knee to push the ball wide of cover for four, just immaculate timing, and then slashes at the last, which flashes over backward point and away to the rope again.
84th over: England 222-3 (Root 86, Stokes 12) Henry’s got his head in his hands here, after Root bottom-edges an attempted cut down into his pads, and thence to safely. Could have gone anywhere, that. Another maiden.
83rd over: England 222-3 (Root 86, Stokes 12) A single for Root from the first ball of Southee’s over, and no hint of a scoring stroke from Stokes thereafter.
82nd over: England 221-3 (Root 85, Stokes 12) Since the Burns run-out, when the glaring sunshine caused all sorts of problems for Bruce Oxenford, the TV umpire, a thick blanket of grey cloud has settled in. Some rain is expected, though not until the evening. This is good news for New Zealand, though Matt Henry isn’t able to maximise it here (and also for Oxenford, obviously).
The players are back out and ready for more. This is a key session in this match now: New Zealand have taken the new ball, and if a few wickets follow they can power on towards victory. If England see off the new ball, then they can look to put together a morale-boosting total. England had five 400+ scores in 2017, but there has been just one since (and four two-digit totals) and they could really do with putting something properly decent together.
TEA: England 218-3
81st over: England 218-3 (Root 84, Stokes 10) Southee takes the fresh cherry, and immediately has it moving about in a slightly concerning manner. Stokes, though, is not overly concerned, and safely makes it through to tea. A good session for England, even though it contained an entirely unnecessary self-inflicted wound in the shape of Burns’ dismissal.
80th over: England 215-3 (Root 84, Stokes 8) The one big surprise about Burns’ dismissal, other than the fact that he was dismissed obviously, and the image that has stuck with me, was the state of his hair when he took his helmet off. That man was seriously perspiring. I’ve never worn a cricket helmet, so I don’t know exactly what it’s like in there, and generally am not one for headgear (though I have worn a full bear suit, which is among my sweatiest experiences), but I’ve seen lots of cricketers take their helmets off and that seemed unusual.
One more over before tea, and it’ll be bowled with a new ball.
79th over: England 215-3 (Root 84, Stokes 7) Root hits a lovely cover drive, its only fault being that it goes straight to the fielder at cover. Another Mitchell maiden.
78th over: England 215-3 (Root 84, Stokes 7) Stokes gets his first boundary, pushing Wagner’s delivery with no great power back past the bowler, from where it trundles merrily down the ground.
77th over: England 209-3 (Root 84, Stokes 1) A Mitchell maiden, his third of
. (actually it was 11. My bad)
nine overs bowled
76th over: England 209-3 (Root 84, Stokes 1) Wagner’s over starts with a Root boundary, and then a single which ends with the bails flying again, more visibly this time, but with the batsman narrowly but clearly home.
75th over: England 204-3 (Root 79, Stokes 1) A change of bails! Within minutes of that overly difficult run-out decision some replacement woodwork is brought out, these a natural shade of wood and thus easily distinguished from nearby white stuff.
74th over: England 203-3 (Root 79, Stokes 1) And there it is! A little nudge off the pads and Burns trots to the other end and completes his second Test century. And then England contrive to give his wicket away! Burns knocks the ball to midwicket and trots off for a gentle single, but at some point and for no obvious reason they decide to run a second, and by the barest of margins they fail to make it. That is some pretty deeply rubbish decision-making right there.
WICKET! Burns run out for 101!
That is very close! Though New Zealand don’t exactly celebrate when it happens, it looks like the stumps are broken just before Burns’ bat crosses the line. But what of the bails? The problem is that they’re white, and so are Watling’s gloves, and the rest of his clothes, and the sun’s shining, and it’s just impossible to see on the replays. The TV umpire sounds, well, stumped. But eventually he gets the angle he needs, and he confirms that Burns has gone!
73rd over: England 198-2 (Burns 99, Root 76) Mitchell bowls wide and a little short at Burns, who slashes it away past point for four. A single off the last takes him to 99, and the very verge of a ton.
72nd over: England 192-2 (Burns 94, Root 75) And then Root takes a single off Wagner. Look, I’d have loved to be a bit more fulsome in my description of these first few overs post-takeover, but I’ve been changing the furniture and adding my own email address and stuff, and my computer is behaving as if it too feels it ought to be unconscious at the moment. Anyway, that’s in the past now. Let’s move on.
71st over: England 191-2 (Burns 94, Root 74) Daryl Mitchell returns with a maiden.
70th over: England 191-2 (Burns 94, Root 74) Good evening/morning/whatever everyone. Thanks Tanya. Insight, lol. As they took drinks Root had faced 191 deliveries and Burns 190; the longest innings of the match so far had been BJ Watling’s 192-ball 55. They’ve both overtaken him now, so that’s, well, something. A single for Burns from Wagner’s over, though he has a bit of a slash at one and is lucky to get nothing on it.
69th over: England 190–2 (Burns 93, Root 74) Root sweeps, nicely, for four and then scampers over to the off side to duvet the spin. Then throws the bat, slightly alarmingly?!, at a wide one. And that’s me done, with Simon Burnton waiting in the wings full of insight and more to guide Burns and Root to their centuries. Thanks for all your emails, jokes and tweets, it’s been fun.
68th over: England 186–2 (Burns 93, Root 70) They pause for drinks with Root losing a demi-semi life with an edge through where first slip might have been examining his nails, if only England had lost a few more wickets.
67th over: England 181–2 (Burns 93, Root 66) At last! Some succour for Santner. He gets one to rip out of the rough – it flies down for four leg byes but smelt of promise. And that’s the follow-on ticked off the to-do list.
Dan Taylor wants to quote “the great Carlton Kirby’s tweet from yesterday.”
Go for it.
So how come you sell Bakewell Fingers and Frangipane Crumble Slices for £1.50 a box of 6, but then charge £5.20 for a slightly lemony sponge?
Mr Kipling: “That’s Madeira Cake!”
66th over: England 176–2 (Burns 93, Root 64) Burns pulls out his pull shot once again – this might be the pick of his days – clunks Henry to the fence and enters the nineties. I’ll eat my slippers if he gets out before three figures.
65th over: England 168–2 (Burns 87, Root 63) Four singles off a Santner not-so-special.
Loving the commentary! I too am at the game and was very curious to hear of these elaborate pies. If you could explore the provenance of these kiwi delicacies further, I’d be very grateful.
Listen Rich, if you can identify this pair, they might, or might not, be eating an elaborate pie. Or, they have found alternative sustenance.
64th over: England 168–2 (Burns 87, Root 63) Matt Henry continues with the short and wide fishing tactics. It doesn’t work but it nearly brings a run-out as Burns takes a risky single to mid-on. Unfortunately for New Zealand Henry lumbers in front of the stumps and tries a cackhanded interception of the throw, making a complete dog’s breakfast of it. Tom Latham, waiting in perfect position behind the stumps, has his head in his hands. That was a ballsed-up chance.
63rd over: England 164–2 (Burns 85, Root 60) Oh, now, that was just gorge-ous from Joe Root. He strokes the ball through cover with such style and gentleness. Shot of the day!
62nd over: England 156–2 (Burns 85, Root 55) Ok, so Williamson thinks that Henry’s worth a punt. Why not? I think we’v reached the stage o f the game where NZ are waiting for England to make a mistake. Just a dab of a single from the over.
61st over: England 156–2 (Burns 85, Root 55) Just one from Santner’s over, Root gets down on his knee to sweep the ball down for a single.And I got a bit lost there in a post-midnight yawn.
60th over: England 156–2 (Burns 85, Root 55) Another top-class pull shot from Rory Burns. He swivels with panache and bingos the ball past square leg for four. Southee sighs.
59th over: England 152–2 (Burns 81, Root 55) Santner turns again, tries flighting a little more, tries cranking it a little faster. To no avail Just one from the over. This is finger-tapping cricket. Can New Zealand restrict England enough that they get frustrated? Root passes his highest scores in a Test match in New Zealand.
Humphrey Hollins, an ex Kiwi, writes from Cairns:
Two men in a nudist camp lying on loungers.
“Have you read Marx?” said one. His companion replied, “Yes, it’s the wicker.”
58th over: England 150–2 (Burns 80, Root 54) Southee bowls wide of the crease, tries to tempt Burns, who resists. Southee, Southee, catchee monkee.
57th over: England 149–2 (Burns 80, Root 53) Three clomped off Santner’s over, who hasn’t threatened that much today. Who is going to be Williamson’s secret weapon? I imagine he’s missing de Grandhomme.
56th over: England 147–2 (Burns 80, Root 51) Southee has a very even approach to the wicket, regular steps, cocked wrists. He tries a wide one without success, he tries a slower ball, Burns ignores it.
Hey Tanya, writes Aaron.
I moved out to NZ from the UK a couple my first ever cricket Test here at Seddon Park, having been drawn back in to a sport I loved when I was nine by the summer’s drama in the World Cup and Ashes.
Lovely laid back atmosphere here! Your brother’s elaborate pie has us intrigued – where did he find that?! We’ve only been able to find the bao and beer so far!
I’ve just re-read my words and I put my probably in the wrong place – it should have read “probably eating an elaborate pie.” Though he might be. He won’t be reading this (though I’ll text him), but someone else at the ground might be. Can you help Aaron anyone?
55th over: England 144–2 (Burns 78, Root 50) Burns sweeps Santner, the New Zealand fielders make appreciative noises. It was kind of risky, but it worked.
Donald Barrett writes; I am jealous.
I saw Shane Warne the musical in Sydney. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We actually saw it one day after flying back from LA where we had just attended Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Never say I don’t have eclectic tastes.
54th over: England 143–2 (Burns 77, Root 50) Southee has the first over after lunch. The wind is coming over his right shoulder (thank you commentary) and he finds some swing. Root stretches to meet it, somewhat awkwardly.
An aside, Rory Burn’s moustache is visible through the grill from the other end of the pitch. I wonder if it might distract the bowler if he suddenly started to fixate on it.
The camera pans down the pitch, it looks a cracker. Root and Burns walk back out.
A lovely email from Will Webster, who needs some help from OBO-ers.
When not watching cricket I am an artist of sorts and wondered if you or your readers might have some insight on a fairly odd cricket related photograph.A while ago the mystery of google randomly presented me with a video to watch about NZ legend Richard Hadlee which included a clip where the great man scored a 100 against West Indies in 1979 ( I think). Upon reaching three figures the celebrating Hadlee was confronted by a small boy who had run into the middle with his camera. The batsman duly posed a bit awkwardly, the child knelt, took the picture and scampered off. I wonder if anyone has seen the photograph the boy took? Google doesn’t help any further, but maybe you have come across this, or similar images – it looks like nobody thought it unusual back in the day. I’m pretty sure being so close to the action is not a viewpoint many people, except players, have had, and so I’d be really curious to see what that snap looked like.Including a screen grab from the vid here. Keep up the good work. Winter wouldn’t be the same without disturbed sleep patterns from checking the midnight cricket.
My brother texts from Hamilton to say Fat Freddy’s Drop are on the PA and everyone is mooching about the outfield in a laid-back surfer-dude way. The sun’s probably out and he’s got a flat white and some kind of elaborate pie too.
What can the northern hemisphere fight back with? A joke, that’s what. Cue Simon Lacey
Not bad, Brian Withington, but you have to go a long way to beat:
Two classics professors find themselves in a bar in downtown Mexico City. “What would you care to drink, old chap?” says one. “I’ve no idea, old boy, you decide,” says the other. “Well, would you decline a tequila?” “Oh certainly, old thing – tequila, tequila, tequilam, tequilae, tequilae, tequila…”
53rd over: England 142–2 (Burns 76, Root 50) The umpire plucks off the bails and that is lunch. England’s session: no wickets, just steady, watchful accumulation, working through initial crankiness to find some moments of joy. I’m off to make a quick drink but I’ll leave you with Damian Clarke’s lunchtime joke.
On the subject of favourite jokes, may I tell you mine?
How does an elephant ask for a bun? Can I have a bun, please?
I realise that this is 90% a visual joke, but does that really matter?
52nd over: England 142–2 (Burns 76, Root 50) And with a tap towards square leg off Mitchell, that’s Joe Root’s fifty. He allows himself a bat wobble, but doesn’t take his helmet off. Still work to do. Well played captain, under heavy pressure.
51st over: England 140–2 (Burns 76, Root 48) A Santner maiden. Lunch approaches.
50th over: England 140–2 (Burns 76, Root 48) Mitchell back into the attack and sends down a zinger on a good length, Root seems to turn it off his hip where it is caught behind the sticks. The umpire gives it out but Root REVIEWS immediately – a tell-tale sign. Sure enough, the third umpire’s slow-mo proves there has been no contact between bat and pad
JAmes Debens writes: “What are “Andy Flash shots”? Are they like “Eddie Hemmings shuffles”? Or “Chris broad strokes”? Halp!
49th over: England 139–2 (Burns 76, Root 47) Frustration for Santner, it is a tidy over until he drifts onto the leg side with his last ball and Burns gets down on one knee and sweeps him down for four, like a man flicking a stray lump of coal back in the fire.
48th over: England 134–2 (Burns 72, Root 46) Burns and Root get the hee-bee-jeebies off their chest with a couple of quick singles off Henry, then Burns goes for a more expansive drive. The runs tick over.
Morning Tanya, writes Avitaj Mitra. Morning!
Joe Root is indeed looking good (and whisper it, but say it nonetheless).. he’s probably due a really big score.
Also, general observation. There’s something very pleasant about watching a game in NZ at the end of the day. Low-key and laid-back.
I agree. It’s just the most idyllic way to watch Test cricket, Lining up barefoot for your coffee, letting the kids run semi-wild on the grass…
47th over: England 128–2 (Burns 67, Root 45) New Zealand playing the waiting game here. Santner turns out another maiden. Root plays a rather impatient swing to his last ball. Can England keep their nerve?
Incidentally, why is Brian Blessed doing betting ads? (I once saw him as Old Deuteronomy in Cats and sat on his knee while getting his autograph. Innocent times)
45th over: England 126–2 (Burns 66, Root 44) A typically careful Santner over, and things have slowed down a bit here. Perhaps the batsmen feel lunch peering over their shoulders.
At last another musicals fan on the OBO. Thank you Timothy Muller! I too enjoyed Dear Evan Hansen very much (and welled up a few times). I’m not sure about the David Warner story, but I once had a conversation with Sir Tim Rice about writing a Basil D’Oliveira musical together (I’m an occasional composer). Sadly, he was too busy on Terms of Endearment at the time, and then was so shocked by the justifiably horrendous reception that got, that he basically retired. If anyone else feels like writing the book and the lyrics, (probably based on Peter Oborne’s biography), let me know.
Tim, shall we talk?
44th over: England 122–2 (Burns 64, Root 42) What a shot from Burns! He watches Henry run in with school boy purpose, and drives him with immaculate timing through mid-on for four. I see these two both making hundreds today.