35th over: England 99-2 (Burns 48, Root 36) Michell, red soles trailing behind him, runs in. A slower ball, Burns is foxed and top-edges a pull… just short of square leg.
Now that is a wonderful suggestion.
34th over: England 95-2 (Burns 46, Root 33) Wagner charges in, steam emerging from ears and nose, pistons moving legs and arm. Just one from over.
“A very good morning Tanya,” writes Brian Withington.
Pleased to read of Atherton’s reference to Joe Root looking good – would love to see him follow David Warner and go very big indeed today (and tomorrow). Meanwhile I’m patiently waiting for any excuse to resubmit my lonely linguistic joke about onomatopoeia …
Oh go on Brian – send it to me again.
33rd over: England 94-2 (Burns 46, Root 33) Mitchell again. I love watching him bowl, you notice a different idiosyncrasy with every over – this time it is his spread fingers in his non-ball gripping hand. Root takes a good stride forward, sends his head over his knee, and plays an immaculate defensive shot. A maiden.
32nd over: England 94-2 (Burns 46, Root 33) A maiden over for Wagner. Not without danger for Burns who is deceived by an off-cutter. Patience. Not long till drinks.
31st over: England 94-2 (Burns 46, Root 33) Williamson turns to Daryl Mitchell, who does a funny quick-step at the top of his run, before steaming in with his high-knee-ed approach. Root watches carefully for five balls then flicks him for an easy four.
I am pleased to say that in the next three months I will be watching an England Test match below Table Mountain at Newlands during the New Year Test, and then below Galle Fort in Sri Lanka in March, writes Neil Waterfield. I can think of two no finer grounds in the world, but will be happy to find others.
You lucky thing! Beautiful grounds in amazing surroundings.
30th over: England 89-2 (Burns 46, Root 29) Burns does sticks his bum out at the crease, he must have great quads. But enough of that – pow! – that’s quite a shot, with straight arms he swats Wagner to the boundary. Next one is short again, and Burns swivels pulls again behind square for another four. England rock’in on.
29th over: England 80-2 (Burns 38, Root 28) Burns is looking good here. He’s over the nerves and hitting crisply. He dispatches Southee with a whizz-crack to the boundary with a sharp pull.
Peter Salmon has his mind on David Warner.
Do you think Stuart Broad would have been looking at Warner’s innings yesterday and thinking, well, that would have taken me about four balls?
28th over: England 76-2 (Burns 34, Root 28) Root eyes up a short one from Wagner, swivels and pulls him for four. Lovely. And again, though with not quite as much power and just gets the single. Then a fine on-drive from Burns which is cut off just before the rope. Next ball he’s crunched in the chest by a short one. This Wagner, he makes thing happen. And that’s the fifty partnership between Root and Burns.
Chris Bull has listed his top grounds on the fantasy trip: Antigua – the recreation ground. Cape town. Dharamsala. Adelaide. Galle. Wellington. If its ever safe enough again Srinigar would be in there.
27th over: England 68-2 (Burns 31, Root 23) Southee again, no real threat, but tight. Burns gets four leg byes past a desperate Watling.
26th over: England 64-2 (Burns 31, Root 23) Aha! New Zealand turn to Wagner to see if he can extract some zing from this pitch. He shoves one in short with every effort of his visible being, the polar opposite of Jofra Archer – whose effort is seemingly effortless – and Burns ducks and it pings off his shoulder for a single. Root ducks the next
In answer to your question William, if I could magic myself to these places so that I didn’t have to worry about my carbon footprint: I’d go to Eden Gardens and Barbados (neither of which I’ve been to), then Sydney, where I could visit my brother, then one of the lovely small New Zealand grounds – happy to be advised – where I could meet my other brother and ….
25th over: England 59-2 (Burns 29, Root 21) We get a close up of Root, eyes darting hither and thither from under his helmet. Southee bowls and Root looks uncomfortable, his feet static. Better next ball, full face of the bat. He nods.
24th over: England 57-2 (Burns 29, Root 19) Henry testing here with his line, but Burns and Root resist doing anything silly. Half an hour safely negociated.
23rd over: England 55-2 (Burns 28, Root 18) Just a couple from Southee’s over – this feels like a crucial first hour. Both these two have the ability to bat big, but are vulnerable early on.
William Hargreaves poses an interesting question
22nd over: England 54-2 (Burns 28, Root 17) Henry and Watling have an earnest chat. A few balls later, Root glove/pulls him, slightly uncomfortably down for four.
Thank you Johns Potter and Little for pointing out that England are batting not New Zealand…
Also, and apropros of nothing, I saw Dear Evan Hansen last night (if you love a good emotional roller-coaster with cracking songs, I recommend it). Surely The David Warner story has got to be a musical. Did anyone see Shane Warne the musical?
21st over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Root 13) The grass stripes either side of the wicket are very defined, all lime candy cane. Joe Root brings the England fifty up with a confident-looking pull off Southee.
20th over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Root 12) At the other end, we have Matt Henry, and Joe Root sends him scurrying for four, a back foot push through backward point. Burns then plays a slightly less confident looking shot, which squeezes through third man for another boundary We get a wide-lens view of the ground – it’s gorgeous, green and very pleasant. Trees, grassy knolls, picnics and a few half-hearted clouds.
19th over: England 40-2 (Burns 24, Root 7) Southee bowls the first over of the day, just a single from it, a back foot push from Root. A discordant version of Jerusalem drifts across the ground.
TMS tells me the players are out, but the TV is running rather behind … this could be interesting…
We need to talk about David Warner. What a story – boy from the wrong sides of the tracks, proves the doubters wrong, falls dramatically from grace, then redemption.
Interesting. Atherton is backing Root to make runs today. He’s been watching him in the nets, and “he’s been hitting the ball beautifully.” He’s tougher, Athers adds, than his angelic features might suggest.
There’s a christmas tree in the Sky studio. The mood in there is moderately dark. Mark Butcher says Joe Root, “has to go out and make a big one.”
Out on the ground, Ian Ward and Mike Atherton are talking to Jos Buttler. Wardy admires Jos “beasting it” in the gym.
Athers asks how Joe Root is coping with the pressure,“You wouldn’t know any different,” says Buttler. “He manages himself very well. Cream always rises to the top, his batting form will come back, probably today.”
Hello fellow time-zones-surfers, and welcome to day three of the second and final Test against New Zealand. They’re starting half an hour early today (9.30pm GMT, 10.30am NZST) in Hamilton, still making up for the grotty weather that truncated day one. New Zealand are whistling to the ground this morning, their bow ties perky, their trainers bouncy – two English wickets down with only 39 on the board.
All is not lost for England, but two of the newbies failed to endure a nasty final session of 21 overs yesterday evening. Unfortunate Dom Sibley, never the nimblest, was cuffed on the helmet and then on the box on the way to being bowled by a leg-stump half volley. Joe Denly prodded at a wobbler from Matt Henry and was well caught by BJ Watling behind the sticks.
The two men who will walk out this morning are Rory Burns, dropped twice yesterday, and Joe Root, suddenly under reams of news-print pressure over the captaincy. “We know we’ve got to go and bat 150 overs here to set up the game on day five,” Stuart Broad said. “Our opportunity is there…Here we’re not batting with a scoreboard of 500. They made 375. So, I think our pressure is reduced slightly and we just go and play.”
If you’re a batsman, you’d want to bat out there, wouldn’t you?” he added helpfully. “If you were good at batting, you’d fancy that.”
Let’s see hey Stuart.
In other news, poor Jack Leach is still in hospital with gastroenteritis, .