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The Sporting Scoop - NZ Grinds Out A Lead

by Ian Little, an unabashed one-eyed supporter of British sports,who writes after a long day at the spiritual home of cricket.

Until the last half hour, the second day of the second test belonged solely to New Zealand, who displayed a gritty batting effort to set up a commanding lead.

Matthew Horne anchored the day knocking out a century as he formed good partnerships with Nathan Astle and Roger Twose. Opener Matthew Bell and Captain Stephen Fleming failed to get starts.

Horne looked like he had decided to go out and practice leg side tickles and glances and well over half his runs came in that area off an increasingly frustrated English bowling line up. Earlier in his innings he took a nasty ball on the elbow and was obviously playing in some discomfort, but the pain seemed to increase his determination.

At 230 for three, New Zealand were looking well placed and my fellow experts were loudly discussing the lack of the cloud cover, when the new ball came into play. Half an hour later, NZ were 242 for six with the last wicket coming off the last ball of the day.

The wickets came as a welcome relief as after the tea break both Twose and Horne had come out of their cautious shells and started hitting Phil Tufnell out of the bowling attack.

Twose looked like he got carried away with his boundary lust and fell trying to hook once to often and set up an easy catch.

Nathan Astle’s innings was an exciting one to watch, boundaries coming in a flurry off a sad looking bowling line up (Get Well Soon Gough). But the day was really Horne’s and he may have done enough to set up a New Zealand victory.

Fifteen minutes late, I missed the end of the England innings, bur the record showed Hussain caught off the bowling of Cairns (his sixth of the innings) by Adam Parore. For a total innings of 186 and a third highest scorer that dependable Extras.

Tomorrow, it is all pretty much in the hands of the players, a couple of good knocks and the match could be out of England’s hands. But a fired up English attack, buoyed by their last hour’s success could still see a close match.

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