Wellington Test: England 177/4 at tea

Published: Saturday, March 15, 2008, 11:20 [IST]
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Wellington: England strengthened their grip on the second cricket Test against New Zealand on the third day Saturday despite losing three wickets in the middle session.

At tea England were 177 for four in their second innings, holding a commanding 321-run lead.

Although the honours in the second session of the day lay with New Zealand as they took three wickets and allowed only 71 runs, England continued to build an imposing lead with six wickets in hand and more than two days remaining.

Both the not out batsmen, Ian Bell on 22 and Paul Collingwood on six, had survived catchable chances.

Collingwood was still to get off the mark when he was put down by Mark Gillespie who completely misjudged a skied ball, and in the following over Mathew Sinclair dropped a difficult chance from Bell on nine.

England started the day at four without loss and and after losing Michael Vaughan for 13 reached 106 for one at lunch with Alastair Cook on 50 and Andrew Strauss on 31.

Cook added another 10 after the resumption before he pushed forward to Kyle Mills and nicked the ball to Stephen Fleming at first slip who took the catch just above ankle height to end a 106-run partnership.

Strauss was gone in the next over bowled by Jacob Oram for four and Kevin Pietersen was the other wicket to fall when he was the victim of an unlucky run out by Chris Martin.

Martin had bowled full to Bell and just managed to get a finger tip on the return drive with the ball deflecting on to the stumps catching out Pietersen who was backing up too far.

Mills was the most successful of the New Zealand bowlers with two for 31 off 15 overs, while Oram had one for 34 off 14.

Barring weather intervention, England were setting themselves up to win the Test and level the series after New Zealand won the first Test by 189 runs.

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