New Zealand made to follow on despite Tim Southee’s counterattacking 73

New Zealand made to follow on despite Tim Southee's counterattacking 73
New Zealand made to follow on despite Tim Southee’s counterattacking 73

Innings break New Zealand 209 (Southee 73, Broad 4-61) trail England 435 for 8 dec (Brook 186, Root 153*, Henry 4-100) by 226 runs

England stared down some defiant hitting from New Zealand captain Tim Southee to take the hosts’ final three wickets and then enforce the follow on during the morning session on day three at Basin Reserve.

New Zealand’s first innings had an anaemic look at 138 for 7 at the close on day two, but they still had a chance of taking the decision out of England’s hands with Southee resuming alongside Tom Blundell. Southee duly showcased his six-hitter’s eye on the way to a bruising 73 off 49 balls – four runs short of equalling his Test best score, made against England on debut in 2008 – before Stuart Broad finished the innings with 3 for 5 in the space of 12 balls.

With a lead of 226, Ben Stokes was able to ask New Zealand to bat again. Overcast conditions in Wellington hinted at continued assistance for the seamers, and the potential for the pitch to continue to improve for batting encouraged England to have another crack.

The best route out of trouble, in Southee’s view, was to give free rein to his natural instincts. After Blundell had edged just short of slip in Ollie Robinson’s first over of the morning, Southee charged at his second ball from Jack Leach and just about got away with a toe-ended slog that cleared Stokes running back from mid-on.

Another full-blooded mow down the ground brought four more in the same over, before Robinson was slapped through the covers. Leach then felt the full force of Southee’s world-class ability to hit sixes, three times going the journey in a single over as New Zealand’s No. 9 raced to a 39-ball half-century.

A Robinson was bumper was swatted for six more, drawing Southee level with Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hayden at joint-tenth on the all-time Test six-hitting list, and another boundary off Broad brought him within sight of the career-best 77 not out at Napier that has stood for 129 innings. He was dropped at fine leg next ball, but immediately offered up another chance to midwicket as Broad ended the stand at 98.

Blundell still had designs on averting the prospect of the follow-on, but miscued an advance in Broad’s next over to be held by Leach at mid-on. Henry then spliced a catch to backward point to give Stokes the option, which he duly took.

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