What a test match! England were out early on day two but Ali managed to make his fifty and England reached 389. How would NZ bat? The answer was very well! Both openers passed fifty but both were out with the score on 148. England’s bowlers didn’t get it right after that. Two new batsmen at the crease gave England hope but Taylor and Williamson batted to the close then started up again in the morning. Williamson got to a hundred early on day three then Taylor got to fifty but England bowled well thereafter and slowed the scoring down and wickets began to fall. Ali got a couple and Wood looked good on debut. McCullum came and went in the blink of an eye and racked up 40+ while he was there. Watling hit 50+ but the rest didn’t contribute much but NZ finished on 523, a lead of 134 and control of the game. England’s reply began in familiar style with the early wickets of Lyth and Ballance but Cook and Bell saw England through to the close. England had lost two wickets and were still over 60 runs in arears
So far three days of top class, entertaining test cricket but day four was even better. Southee got Bell on the third ball of the morning and I was thinking ‘oh no, here we go…’. There was no need to worry, Cook and Root batted through difficult conditions through the morning but the partnership flourished thereafter. Root looked certain to get a century but hooked straight down a fielders throat on 84. With the score on 232 the game was still in the balance. Great test cricket!
The next couple of hours got even better, Cook got a well deserved century but was very much a junior partner to Ben Stokes who was just brilliant. Stokes simply put bat to ball and whacked it all over and out of Lords hitting 15 fours and 3 sixes on his way to the fastest test hundred at Lords. He was out soon after, the partnership with Cook put on 132, Stokes scored 101 of them!! Buttler came and went quickly but Ali stayed with his captain till the close with the score at 429-6, England have a lead of 295. Twenty four hours ago we were wondering if we could avoid defeat, now we think we can win!