Wellington Test: England lead by 421 runs

Published: Saturday, March 15, 2008, 12:15 [IST]
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Wellington: England held a near impregnable lead of 421 runs in the second cricket Test against New Zealand as they reached 277 for nine at stumps on the third day here Saturday.

The margin is already ahead of the current record winning fourth innings total in the history of Test cricket of 418.

When Paul Collingwood fell in the final over of the day, England did not immediately declare, indicating they want to milk the fourth morning for as many more runs as possible before the last wicket falls.

Collingwood, who posted his second half-century of the match reaching 59 before he went leg before wicket to Mark Gillespie, has been central to England's bid to even the series after New Zealand won the first Test.


He scored 65 in the first innings where he featured in a telling 164-run stand for the sixth wicket with Tim Ambrose in what has become the match-turning partnership.

Apart from Ambrose's first innings century the England batsmen have largely failed to build scores of substance.

Alastair Cook's 60, 44 from Andrew Strauss and 41 from Ian Bell were the only other notable performances in the second innings.

Marquee batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has had a lean tour of New Zealand, had reason to feel his luck had changed when on 10 umpire Rudi Koertzen turned down a close lbw appeal by Daniel Vettori.

Television replays suggested he was plumb in front, but it was short-lived relief as Pietersen only reached 17 before he was run out.

New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin managed to get a finger tip to a return drive from Ian Bell and deflected the ball onto the stumps catching Pietersen out of his ground.

Had the New Zealand fielding been sharper the England total could have been much less.

Collingwood was on nought when he was dropped by Gillespie off Daniel Vettori, and the ball bounced off Gillespie's arm and rolled over the boundary for four.

In the following over Mathew Sinclair dropped a difficult chance from Bell on nine.

England, who had a 144-run lead on the first innings, started the day at four without loss in their second stand and went though to lunch with the solitary loss of Michael Vaughan for 13.

Cook, who was dropped by McCullum on five before hitting the first six of his 26-Test career, put on 106 with Strauss for the second wicket before both were dismissed early in the afternoon session.

Cook pushed forward to Kyle Mills and nicked the ball to Stephen Fleming at first slip and Strauss was bowled by Jacob Oram in the following over for four.

Ambrose was unable to reproduce his first innings heroics and made five from 23 balls before he was bowled by Oram who finished the day with three for 44 off 20 overs.

Gillespie, although the most expensive of the New Zealand bowlers at four runs an over, had figures of two for 52.

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