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New Zealand v England – story of the match

England are hoping history can repeat itself in Auckland.

Joe Root’s dismissal to the penultimate ball of the fourth day was a hammer blow to England’s chances of salvaging an unlikely stalemate in the first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park.

Root (51) had dug in manfully to sow belief England might yet achieve the mighty improbable here.

But after he was caught-behind down the leg-side from a vicious Trent Boult delivery, England closed on a downer, 132 for three and still a yawning 237 behind after conceding a monstrous first-innings lead of 369 in New Zealand’s inaugural day-night Test.

The storm moves on

After two days of rain here, despite England’s plight, it was at least a relief to see cricket taking over again – not least because of the shadows cast by regrettable events on the other side of the world. The action returned to Eden Park, but in a hushed and chastened atmosphere as players, crowd and commentators alike digested the bombshell that – in the third Test in Cape Town – Australia captain Steve Smith and accomplice Cameron Bancroft had confessed to pre-meditated ball-tampering against South Africa.

Tweet of the day

“Slept on it…Lehmann, Saker & the leaderships groups jobs are untenable! They’ve disgraced a great cricketing nation & Test cricket!” – It was events elsewhere which dominated the thoughts of many, and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has already drawn his own conclusions about what should happen next in South Africa.

Balls

The pink balls here have behaved conversely, depending who has been bowling. On day one, Trent Boult and Tim Southee had the swing on a string, and England’s batsmen formed a hasty procession. When the tourists bowled, they gave little away yet posed a minimal threat – leaving their chief exponent James Anderson to bemoan the lack of movement from a ball he insisted did not even stay round for long.

Stat of the day

148 – The overs England were required to bat to save the match at the outset of their second innings. They hung on nine-down after 143 here on their last trip, exactly five years ago, to secure a 0-0 series stalemate.

What next?

Endgame. A heroic salvation still looks a long way off for England.

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