• WICKET! Finn lbw b Martin 56

    Finn was trying to move things on after tea, attempting a sweep at Martin and missing. The ball thuds nito the back leg and would've gone on to hit middle three parts of the way up.

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    Over 152 - England 386/4 (Finn 56, Bell 14)

    Williamson starts proceedings after tea. Which tells you all you need to know about how confident New Zealand are of forcing a result here. Bell eases him down the ground for four.

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    Ton

    With the game safe, you'd hope England have told Steve Finn to have a pop after tea. He doesn't need to go mental, but if he scores at a strike-rate of 45 rather than 25 after tea there's still a chance for him to get a Test century. Can't imagine this opportunity is going to come round too often for him.

  • England 382/4

    Only 53 runs scored in that session, but despite the wickets of Trott and Pietersen they've put the game safe now. Surely. Would have to lose six wickets in an hour after tea, and even then New Zealand would have a job on to get the chase done.

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    Over 151 - England 382/4 (Finn 56, Bell 10)

    Finn rattling along now, steering Martin past slip for two runs.

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    Over 150 - England 380/4 (Finn 54, Bell 10)

    After only an hour and 12 minutes - and 50 deliveries - on 53, Finn moves to 54 with a push through the unpopulated mid-off area. Big cheers from the Barmy Army, grin from the batsmen. He's having the time of his life.

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    Over 149 - England 379/4 (Finn 53, Bell 10)

    Wagner out of the attack after a superb spell of 8-2-20-2. Martin changes ends. Bell works him away through midwicket for two runs. There are 36 overs remaining, and England lead by 86.

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    Over 148 - England 377/4 (Finn 53, Bell 8)

    Boult back into the attack. New Zealand's four-man attack - and especially the three seamers - can be pleased with their efforts here. They've kept going and not once let England get away from them in this innings. Bell clips to leg for a single, and you know what happens for the rest of the over.

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    Over 147- England 376/4 (Finn 53, Bell 7)

    Finn update: still no run. An hour now without adding to his 53 runs. He's probably done himself out of any chance of a century.

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    Over 146 - England 375/4 (Finn 53, Bell 6)

    "You talk about batsmen being solid - Finn's set hard here," opines Bumble. Almost an hour without a run for Finn now. Thirteen overs since he got his 53rd run.

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    Over 145 - England 375/4 (Finn 53, Bell 6)

    Rare bad ball from Wagner, short and wide and allowing Bell to get a cut away to the point boundary. Only just managed to get the toe of the bat to the ball but made good enough contact to reach the ropes.

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    Over 144 - England 371/4 (Finn 53, Bell 2)

    New Zealand's bowlers have, to their enormous credit, never given up here and have thrown everything at England. The Kiwis believe the contest is still on and have started chirping Finn in particular. "Going nowhere on us here, boys. Fifteen overs to chase 150 here boys." It's club-standard fare, but it's not an unreasonable point. England would've thought the game would be safe if they batted 150 overs, but that won't be the case. Still 41 overs to go, and England's lead only 78.

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    Over 143 - England 369/4 (Finn 53, Bell 2)

    A controlled outside edge past gully brings Bell two runs before he's beaten groping uncertainly outside the off stump. Seven wickets for Wagner on this pitch is a sensational effort. If one of the batsmen gets man of the match then the game's not right.

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    Over 142 - England 367/4 (Finn 53, Bell 0)

    If Finn had got out early, England might have actually got into a bit of bother today. Or, looked at the other way, his painfully slow scoring has delayed the point at which the match will be safe. Had a certain someone else been batting at three and scored this slowly he'd have been getting all sorts of stick on the Twitter. Finn's done brilliantly really. Not his fault that the nightwatchman concept is flawed.

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    Over 141 - England 367/4 (Finn 53, Bell 0)

    Compton, Trott and now Pietersen all dismissed while Finn watches on from the other end. Ian Bell the new batsman, and he blocks the last ball of the over.

  • WICKET! Pietersen c Watling b Wagner 12

    A seventh wicket for the indefatigable Wagner. Clever bowling as well, switching back to over the wicket from around and convincing Pietersen to play at a ball he needn't. Healthy inside edge through to BJ Watling.

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    Over 140 - England 367/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 12)

    A spinless over from Martin and a strokeless over from Finn. This is almost anti-cricket. Seven overs since Finn scored a run.

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    Over 139 - England 367/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 12)

    Good maiden over from Wagner, but Pietersen looking far more secure and rather less flighty as he negotiates it. Some solid forward defensive shots and a couple of drives to sting the hands of mid-on and mid-off.

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    Over 138 - England 367/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 12)

    Left-arm spinner inevitably into the attack against Pietersen. KP looking to be aggressive straight away, using his feet almost every ball, but can't get to the pitch until ball five and even then has to make do with a single.

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    Over 137 - England 366/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 11)

    Wagner in the middle of a really good spell here, despite Pietersen flaying him through the covers for four. The bowler hits back with a good ball that just shapes away from Pietersen and loops safely into the offside off a leading edge as the batsman looks to profit through the legside.

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    Over 136 - England 361/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 6)

    Pietersen looks horribly rusty here. Don't know whether he's struggling slightly with the knee injury he picked up while fielding, but he doesn't look comfortable. After a tentative play and miss he edges past the slips for two before picking up only a single as he miscues a clip to leg off a juicy full-toss. Time for drinks.

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    Over 135 - England 358/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 3)

    Wagner got his first ball to Pietersen spot on in the first innings. Not this time, though, as a leg-stump delivery allows Pietersen to get off both the king and regulation pairs with a flick off his hip through square-leg for two. He adds a single to long-leg before Wagner gets the ball to shape away from Finn from round the wicket and beat the outside edge. Would be harsh to say that ball's wasted on Finn given he's 53 not out, but it probably is. As is the next one, which does exactly the same thing.

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    Over 134 - England 355/3 (Finn 53, Pietersen 0)

    We now live in a world where New Zealand are looking to stop Steven Finn getting a single at the end of Southee's over, so that Wagner can bowl at Kevin Pietersen instead.

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    Over 133 - England 355/3 (Finn 53)

    Enter Kevin Pietersen, sitting on a king pair. Finn gives him some words of batting advice as he walks to the middle.

  • WICKET! Trott c & b Wagner 52

    Trott, overwhelmed by the futility of batting in a world where Steven Finn has a Test half-century, chips a return catch to Wagner. Good one-handed catch in the end as the ball threatened to lob over his head.

  • Steven Finn 52 not out

    There it is! Fifty for Finn via an edge through the slips. That's an appropriate way to get to the landmark, and the understated celebrations reveal a batsman who knows his work is not yet done, that 50 is a mere staging post on the way to proper milestones down the road.

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    Over 132 - England 350/2 (Finn 48, Trott 52)

    Bruce Martin back into the attack. Single apiece for Trott and Finn as England's nightwatchman moves ever closer to his half-century.

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    Over 131 - England 348/2 (Finn 47, Trott 51)

    Finn sees out another over, but the wait for a half-century goes on.

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    Over 130 - England 348/2 (Finn 47, Trott 51)

    Finn clips Southee away for two behind square-leg to move to 46 and then must think he's got his 50 after lacing a cover-drive off a long half-volley, but Hamish Rutherford sticks out a left hand and gets enough on the ball to save three runs.

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    Over 129 - England 345/2 (Finn 44, Trott 51)

    Finn blocks the persevering Boult into the offside for a single before Trott has to adjust late in the day to keep the ball down after the bowler somehow extracts some life from the pitch and gets one to bounce.

  • Over 128 - England 344/2 (Finn 43, Trott 51)

    Trott eases to a frankly effortless half-century with a beautiful flick through midwicket for four. All right he's been under no pressure, but he has batted beautifully, looking more fluent than either of England's centurions. Just 78 balls to bring up the 50, with eight quality boundaries driven through the offside and clipped through the leg.

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    Over 127 - England 340/2 (Finn 43, Trott 47)

    Finn calls Trott through for a quick single after the Warwickshire batsman gets a thick inside edge into the legside. Look at him, behaving like a batsman. Finn then continues his fun with an exaggerated forward defensive, holding the pose for the snappers.

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    Over 126 - England 339/2 (Finn 43, Trott 46)

    Trott whips Southee through the legside for four, and picks up a strike-pinching single from the last ball of the over after a misfield. Looks like he'll win the race to 50.

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    Over 125 - England 334/2 (Finn 43, Trott 41)

    Maiden over from Boult. He looks weary. Finn far happier to be batting than bowling.

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    Over 124 - England 334/2 (Finn 43, Trott 41)

    A thick inside edge to fine-leg brings Finn a single before Trott uses a bit of reverse-swing from Southee to send the ball arrowing through midwicket for a familiar boundary. He follows Finn into the 40s, not prepared to give up his number-three berth without a fight.

  • England 329/2

    The whole point of playing cricket across five days is for the pitch conditions to change and deteriorate, for a pitch to offer - at various times in the game - something for all the game's participants. This one has failed that most basic task. When Steven Finn can bat out a two-and-a-half-hour session that starts with a ball only seven overs old, then something is awry. Fair play to England, though. The mental application is admirable, even if the test is a straightforward one.

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    Over 123 - England 329/2 (Finn 42, Trott 37)

    In a session that redefined the word futile, New Zealand's bowlers deserve credit for continuing to run up and bowl the ball rather than just sitting down and having a bit of a cry. Trott eases a drive past cover for four runs as Williamson overpitches. I'm told that Finn is now 16 runs short of going past Shane Watson's total Test runs for 2013. That's something to look forward to at least.

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    Over 122 - England 324/2 (Finn 41, Trott 33)

    Maiden over. Southee bowled it, I think. It was definitely Trott on strike anyway.

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    Over 121 - England 324/2 (Finn 41, Trott 33)

    Even the trumpeter can't be bothered today.

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    Over 120 - England 324/2 (Finn 41, Trott 33)

    I don't think it'll ever happen, but if Test cricket does die it will be pitches like this that do it. Not Twenty20 or anything else. The only threat to Test cricket's survival is bad Test cricket. And this pitch is producing bad Test cricket. It's not a criticism of the players. Even when something does happen it makes no difference, as shown here by a genuine outside edge from Trott that doesn't carry to Watling, even though he's standing ridiculously close. Trott picks up four to fine-leg. England lead by 31.

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    Over 119 - England 319/2 (Finn 40, Trott 29)

    Finn into the 40s as a thick outside edge somehow finds the gap between slip and gully. Williamson kicks the turf in frustration.

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    Over 118 - England 316/2 (Finn 37, Trott 29)

    Trott defends to cover and jogs a single to bring up perhaps the easiest 50 partnership in the history of Test cricket. Finn then does one of his trolleaves off Southee, judging that the ball would miss the off stump by sufficiently few millimetres to really annoy the bowler. He clips the next ball to long-leg for a single. Chris Martin could make runs on here.

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    Over 117 - England 314/2 (Finn 36, Trott 28)

    Another Williamson over happens.

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    Over 116 - England 313/2 (Finn 36, Trott 27)

    Lovely cover-drive from Trott, leaning on a long half-volley from Wagner and stroking it away to the boundary. At least shots like that give the day some aesthetic value, even if the game has long since ended as a spectacle. We've another three-and-a-half hours of play yet. Once Finn gets out, that's literally it for this game. Seeing how many he can make is all we've got to cling to.

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    Over 115 - England 308/2 (Finn 36, Trott 22)

    Test cricket, the pinnacle of the game. Here's Kane Williamson bowling to Steven Finn. This is the first time a team has made 300+ for the loss two or fewer wickets in their second innings since England's 517/1 at Brisbane.

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    Over 114 - England 308/2 (Finn 36, Trott 22)

    Finn's gone past James Anderson's highest Test score by the way. Bound to lead to all manner of banter.

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    Over 113 - England 307/2 (Finn 36, Trott 22)

    Trott eases into the 20s as he works Martin through midwicket for three runs. Without meaning Finn any disrespect, any pitch where he can come in against the new ball and help himself to 36 not out like some kind of incorrect aspect ratio Rahul Dravid is a Bad Pitch.

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    Over 112 - England 304/2 (Finn 36, Trott 19)

    Genuine outside edge from Finn, but it flies wide of the diving gully and away to the boundary to take him past his previous best score in first-class cricket. Maybe he wasn't a nightwatchman at all. Maybe it's just a promotion based on the first innings.

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    Over 111 - England 300/2 (Finn 32, Trott 19)

    England reach 300 as Finn sweeps a single and Trott clips two through midwicket.

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    Over 110 - England 297/2 (Finn 31, Trott 17)

    England into the lead thanks to Stachin Finndulkar, who clips Wagner away for two to long-leg and then drives through the covers for three more to move into the 30s. His first 17 Tests brought him 51 runs, a total he's doubled in this match. England lead by four, meaning we have to observe that ther are now effectively 4/2 and that every run scored from here on is worth two.

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    Over 109 - England 292/2 (Finn 26, Trott 17)

    Trott's going to get out in a minute. Over-confidence coarsing through his veins as he abandons his Stretch Armstrong Rahul Dravid impression and starts swiping like a good 'un. A couple of plays and misses before a sweep off a straight ball brings three.

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    Over 108 - England 289/2 (Finn 23, Trott 17)

    For all the ho ho ho joking about Trott's scoring-rate, he does often get to 20 pretty quickly in Tests as bowler try to get him out lbw and watch a lot of balls whistle through square-leg and midwicket. He picks up a single and a sweetly-timed boundary in this over either side of a Finn cover-drive that brings him three runs and his highest Test score. This is his 18th Test match, and he's now scored 46% of all his Test runs in this one match.

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    Over 107 - England 281/2 (Finn 20, Trott 12)

    Trott works Martin into the legside for a single. Finn studiously blocks out the rest of the over.

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    Over 106 - England 280/2 (Finn 20, Trott 11)

    Trott works to long-leg for a single to give Finn, starved of strike recently, another chance to impress us all. And he does, using his height to get a good stride in to Wagner and drive past cover for two runs and then repeating the shot to prove it was no fluke and in the process equal his career-best effort from the first innings.

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    Over 105 - England 275/2 (Finn 16, Trott 10)

    It's almost like Trott watched that first hour, said to his colleagues "Lads, is this what it's like when I'm batting?" and had some kind of epiphany. He strokes Martin down the ground for four and then scampers a single to race into double-figures

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    Over 104 - England 270/2 (Finn 16, Trott 5)

    Jonathan Trott comes in and immediately lifts the strike-rate. Now there's a sentence. Both the first two balls he receives are clipped through square-leg for two, before the last ball of the no-longer-invisible Wagner's over is prodded past cover for a single. England still trail by 23 runs.

  • WICKET! Compton lbw b Wagner 117

    Everyone knows Wagner's bowling now, because he's only gone and taken a wicket. Perhaps even Compton himself was starting to lose interest in his innings as he dozes off and misses a straight ball that hits him on the pads. Asad Rauf wide awake to raise the finger. Pitched leg, hitting middle. Finn and Compton have a chat, but the reviews are wisely retained.

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    Over 103 - England 265/1 (Compton 117, Finn 16)

    I noticed this bowling change. Mainly because the spinner Bruce 'Not Chris' Martin is into the attack. Compton back-cuts to third-man for a single.

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    Over 102 - England 264/1 (Compton 116, Finn 16)

    I've only just realised Wagner's bowling. Apparently this is the third over of his spell. The other two were maidens to be fair, and that stapler is very shiny. I mainly noticed Wagner was bowling because this over is not a maiden over, but contains a stapler-stuffing seven runs as Compton drives past mid-off for three and Finn edges wide of the slips for four.

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    Over 101 - England 257/1 (Compton 113, Finn 12)

    Compton scored a run just now. I missed it because I was looking at a stapler instead. But he definitely scored a run because now Finn's on strike and Compton's total has gone up by one. Finn doesn't score any runs from the rest of the over despite me watching intently and missing all the exciting things the stapler was doing.

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    Over 100 - England 256/1 (Compton 112, Finn 12)

    More like it. Finn plays out another maiden. He's definitely going to score 200 here, as long as they add another three days to the match.

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    Over 99 - England 256/1 (Compton 112, Finn 12)

    Finn spoils everything by getting a single off Boult.

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    Over 98 - England 255/1 (Compton 112, Finn 11)

    This is an excellent morning's cricket if you like maiden overs. Some really good ones so far.

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    Over 97 - England 255/1 (Compton 112, Finn 11)

    The idea that there might be a modicum of interest left in this match if an early wicket or two fell has dissipated. Finn digging in as he looks to improve his Test-best score for the second time in the match.

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    Over 96 - England 255/1 (Compton 112, Finn 11)

    Compton works Southee through midwicket for two runs. And he's broken his bat in the process. Huge crack splitting across the back of it. One for the bonfire or rubbish bin normally, but I suspect Compton will want to keep that one. The new bat works like a charm instantly with a boundary through square-leg, although Compton could probably have put away a shin-high leg-stump full-toss even with the broken one.

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    Over 95 - England 249/1 (Compton 106, Finn 11)

    Too easy this for Finn. Blocking, leaving and playing-and-missing his way nonchalantly through these crucial early overs.

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    Over 94 - England 249/1 (Compton 106, Finn 11)

    Finn has no bat sponsor. Surely earning himself a contract with his efforts in this match.

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    Over 93 - England 249/1 (Compton 106, Finn 11)

    Finn still hanging in there for England this morning as he sets off on his way to an inevitable Jason Gillespie-style double century.

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    Over 92 - England 249/1 (Compton 106, Finn 11)

    Lovely shot from Compton to bring his first runs of the morning as Southee finds some swing but overpitches, allowing England's opener to lean on the ball and time it past cover's right hand and collect a boundary.

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    Over 91 - England 245/1 (Compton 102, Finn 11)

    Finn's got a job to do here. The swing that's around this morning won't last for long. If he can somehow fiddle his way through the first half-hour he'll make things far easier for the batsmen to come. He negotiates another over here, picking up a boundary with a flashing drive over point off the outside half of the bat.

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    Over 90 - England 241/1 (Compton 102, Finn 7)

    Something reassuringly inevitable about this, as Southee's outswinger finds Finn's outside edge and scuttles down to the vacant third-man boundary. Finn then pads up to one that comes back at him and looks lbw for all money. But Asad Rauf says not out, and New Zealand aren't keen to risk their one remaining review on Finn. Brilliant decision from the umpire: it's missing off stump by a whisker. Looked dead in real time. Finn fiddles to square-leg for a single to keep the strike. Finn will tell anyone who'll listen how good his judgement was on that leave. No-one will believe him.

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    Over 89 - England 236/1 (Compton 102, Finn 2)

    Just seen another, better replay of that Finn edge in the previous over. Did just carry to Brownlie's left hand as he flung himself in front of second slip. Fiendishly difficult chance, though. Good start from Trent Boult as well, beating Compton outside off stump with one that goes straight on after the previous delivery shaped back into the right-hander. So often it's not the swinging ball that takes the wickets, but the straight onner after the seeds have been sown in the batsman's mind.

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    Over 88 - England 236/1 (Compton 102, Finn 2)

    Tim Southee starts the day's proceedings, and there's still a bit of new-ball swing for him. Nightwatchman Steven Finn prods a drive through point for two before a genuine outside edge bounces just short of third slip Dean Brownlie diving in front of second. Had to go for it, but it just didn't quite get there. Southee's pace a bit down as he eases back into his bowling.

  •  

    Home hopes

    Tough day for New Zealand yesterday, but they shouldn't give up all hope by any means. England's wrong-headed persistance with the fatally-flawed concept of the nightwatchman means they should pick up at least one early wicket this morning which always changes the complexion of a scorecard.

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    Sunny

    Good news for England - the sun's coming out after an overcast start. Looks like a batting day in Dunedin, and Compton and co can bat all day if they wish.

  •  

    Welcome

    After an emotional fourth day's play featuring Alastair Cook's 24th Test century and - more significantly - Nick Compton's first, England are well on course to save this Test. But the job is not yet done. The tourists still trail by 59 runs and seasoned England watchers will know things could very quickly go south even on a flat pitch against an attack constantly paid the back-handed compliment of "workmanlike".