Live Commentary: New Zealand vs. England - First Test, day three - as it happened

Alastair Cook
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brought you live coverage of day three of the first Test match between New Zealand and England in Dunedin.

England began day three of the first Test match with New Zealand keen to restore some pride after a torrid time with bat and ball on day two.

After being dismissed for 167, New Zealand eased to 131 without loss to leave them well placed to build a commanding lead.

Their dominance continued during the morning session as they reached lunch on 255-2, with Hamish Rutherford well on the way to an outstanding debut score of 171.

However, England fought back in the afternoon session through James Anderson and Stuart Broad to restrict New Zealand to 402-7, before play was brought to an early close due to bad light and rain.

Read below to see how the action unfolded.


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8.33pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's coverage of day three of the first Test match between New Zealand and England.

8.37pmEngland require a miraculous effort if they are to get back into this match. On a flat pitch, they scored just 167, before New Zealand eased to the close of play, making 131 without loss.

8.40pmEngland's target this morning will be to simply make a breakthrough. Chances were few and far between in the final session yesterday, and Alastair Cook is going to need to use his tactical nous to halt New Zealand's domination of this match.

8.46pmThe star performer for New Zealand was opening batsman Hamish Rutherford. Making his Test debut, he showed little to no nerves as he 10 fours and a six in a fantastic innings of 77, where he was supported by Peter Fulton, who scored 46.

8.56pmWe are just five minutes away from the action beginning at the University Oval. Like yesterday, it will be an extended morning session.

NZ 132-0Decent start from Jimmy Anderson. The majority of the over is right on line with the length that we would be looking to bowl.

NZ 134-0Just a couple of runs from Steven Finn's opening over. He is the fastest of England's seam bowlers, and you feel that Alastair Cook will be looking to him to provide that spark to his team's attack.

NZ 136-0Fulton moves ever close to his fifty with two runs through the covers. He hasn't scored as freely as Rutherford, but he would be fully deserving of a half-century.

NZ 144-0Rutherford has shown no signs of nerves as he approaches his century. He has just produced two superb shots for four to take him to 87.


NZ 149-0Fulton moves to fifty with a pull down to long leg, before Rutherford continues his assault with a four down the ground. There is a bit of clud cover around Dunedin today, but it isn't helping the England bowlers.

NZ 155-0New Zealand are wasting no time in attempting to assert themselves further this morning, and Fulton picks up another boundary with a shot through gully.

NZ 156-0Just the one for Rutherford from that over. There is a very relaxed atmosphere in the University Oval. They know their side are on course to post a huge total today.

NZ 157-0England are trying to ruffle the feathers of Fulton and Rutherford, but they aren't having much joy. Just one run came from that latest Finn over.

NZ 158-1WICKET! Fulton (55) c Prior b Anderson

NZ 158-1Finally, England have a wicket! Fulton is the man to go, edging an Anderson delivery to Prior. Massive breakthrough for the tourists.

NZ 166-1All the focus is now on Rutherford, who is five short on his century. Make that one short, after the left-hander hits a four down to third man. And that is his debut hundred! And it was in fitting fashion, with a excellent drive through cover.

NZ 167-1Stuart Broad has been brought into the attack, and he starts by conceding just the one run. However, the scores are level now, and you would expect New Zealand to kick on from here.

NZ 167-1I forget to mention that Kane Williamson is the new batsman at the crease, and he has started quietly with just a single off his opening 13 balls. Maiden over for Finn.

NZ 172-1Remember when Rutherford edged Broad past the slip cordon yesterday, only for there to be no third slip? Well, it just happened again. Rutherford moves to 108.

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NZ 178-1Anderson is back, and he is fired up. Rutherford scores another four, but Anderson is disappointed he didn't hold onto a difficult caught-and-bowled opportunity.

NZ 178-1Williamson is focused on playing the support role to Rutherford, and he plays out a maiden over. He has scored two runs off his opening 24 balls.

NZ 179-1Another single from the over, and the run-rate has come down a notch since the dismissal of Fulton. However, it always have the potential to increase quickly with Rutherford at the crease.

NZ 180-1Exactly the same as the last over. Rutherford scores an early single, and that is your lot for the over. It's drinks time.

NZ 181-1We get our first glimpse of Monty Pansear this morning. He starts well, allowing Rutherford just the one single. There didn't appear to be a whole lot of turn.

NZ 186-1Williamson finally shows show intent with a boundary through mid-on. New Zealand's lead is now up to 19.

NZ 187-1Despite the lack of turn, Panesar is keeping Rutherford and Williamson on the back foot. However, as we saw yesterday, it only takes one loose delivery for Rutherford to attack the left-armer.

NZ 191-1The highlight reel of Rutherford's innings will be quite something. He smashes another boundary through the covers to take him to 122.

NZ 195-1Williamson is slowly warming to the task, and he advances down the pitch to send Panesar for four. England would have hoped to build on that early success, but they have failed to take the initiative.

NZ 209-1What an over for Rutherford, and he has brought New Zealand's 200 up. After scoring four past extra cover, he times Anderson through the off side. He backs that up with two more, before sending the ball to the midwicket boundary. 14 runs from the over.

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NZ 215-1Rutherford has now moved up to second in the all-time list for the highest score hit my a New Zealand batsman on debut. Williamson moves to 15 after clipping the ball through square leg for three.

NZ 215-1A rare maiden over for Anderson, especially with Rutherford on strike. The lead is now up to 48.

NZ 221-1Rutherford moves to 141 with a cut through point. He has scored 65 runs from this session alone. We are just over 10 overs away from the new ball.

NZ 222-1Anderson finds a bit of movement from the pitch, which surprises Williamson, but he avoids making contact with the ball. England will take any kind of assistance that they can right now.

NZ 227-1Going back to the list for players scoring the most runs on debut, Rutherford has moved up to 12th on the all-time list, and he has plenty of players in his sights. Williamson records his third boundary by cuitting the ball away to the rope.

NZ 228-1We now have spin at both ends as Cook introduces Root to the action, and he gets through his over qucikly, conceding just a single.

NZ 243-1Rutherford brings up his 150 with a huge six down the ground off Pansear, and he repeats the feat two balls later. He picks up three more to move to 160 off 198 balls. I remind you, this performance is on his Test debut.

NZ 245-1Root continues, and he does well to restrict Rutherford to just one off the first five balls of the over. Williamson moves to 21 off the final delivery.

NZ 249-2WICKET! Williamson (24) b Panesar

NZ 249-2This duo were approaching their hundred partnership, but Panesar has brought it to a halt on 91, with a quicker delivery that beat the right-hander. A bit of a bonus for England, but they won't care. Ross Taylor is the new batsman.

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NZ 250-2The 250 is up for New Zealand. They will be confident of doublling that score by the close of play, if they can keep wickets in hand. Decent over from Root.

NZ 251-2Huge appeal from Panesar, who thinks he has got Taylor lbw, but the umpire turns it down, and rightly so. Taylor looks a bit shaky out in the middle.

NZ 255-2Finn replaces Root as he approach the lunch break. Rutherford carves him away for two to move to 166, before he picks up one more with a single behind square. Taylor gets off the mark off the last ball before lunch.

11.32amWell, England got the breakthrough that they desperately required, but it has been one-way traffic again in Dunedin. Greg Rutherford has been the star of the show, moving to 167, and he will be hopeful of returning to complete his double century. We will be back in 35 minutes for the resumption of play.

12.06amWelcome back for the second session of day three. England are just three overs away from being able to take the new ball, and they must make use of it to stand a chance of bowling New Zealand out before the close of play.

NZ 261-2Panesar opens up the session for England, but he is quickly hit for four by Taylor, who displayed more confidence with that single shot than he did before lunch.

NZ 265-2It appears as though Cook just wants these final couple of overs done with as quick as possible, as he opts to give Root a solitary over before the new ball. Two singles apiece for Rutherford and Taylor.

NZ 267-2New Zealand take their lead into three figures when Rutherford flicks a single to the leg side. The new ball is now available to Alastair Cook.

NZ 267-3WICKET! Rutherford (171) c sub b Anderson

NZ 271-3Anderson takes a wicket with the first delivery with the new ball, but the ball didn't do anything special to get rid of Rutherford, the left-hander wrecklessly flicking the ball straight to Chris Woakes. Dean Brownlie is the new batsman. He gets off the mark with two, but he is then dropped by Joe Root at slip! Mixed over for England.


NZ 276-3Cook will have been very disappointed not to have seized that chance to dismiss Brownlie. It may have changed the tactics of Ross Taylor, who drives the ball down the ground for four.

NZ 282-3Taylor has looked like a different person after lunch, and after latching onto a wide ball to crash the ball through the covers, he takes a quick single to rotate the strike.

NZ 286-3Brownlie moves to nine by cutting the ball past point. There seems to be some concern with the weather in the distance. I will keep you posted.

NZ 287-3Just a single off Anderson's most recent over. The swing seems to have lessened a little bit, but there is still gradual movement off the pitch from time to time.

NZ 290-3Finn misses out on a maiden over when Taylor punches the ball through the off side for three. It will be interesting to see whether the threat of rain influences the run-rate. Ideally, New Zealand would prefer not to have much time taken out of the game.

NZ 294-3News is coming through that Kevin Pietersen has a problem with his knee. He has been off the field for quite a while, so it doesn't sound too promising at the moment. A streaky four from Taylor takes him to 27.

NZ 302-3Broad replaces Finn, and after he is sent to the boundary by Brownlie, he replies by sending the ball past the batsman's outside edge. Brownlie has the final say with another four to take New Zealand past 300. A tweet from a reporter in Dunedin hints that rain is imminent.

NZ 307-3Another edge finds the gap in the slip cordon. That must have happened at least five times now. The lead is now up to 140.

NZ 310-3Broad is nearing 75 overs without taking a Test wicket, but he nearly forces the ball through Brownlie's defences with a full delivery. Taylor is on 31, with Brownlie on 21.

NZ 310-4WICKET! Taylor (31) c Trott b Anderson

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NZ 310-4England have another breakthrough, and it is the birthday boy Taylor who is on his way. Anderson has become increasingly fired-up as the day has progressed and he lets out a huge roar as Taylor edges to Trott at slip. Brendon McCullum comes in at number six.

NZ 315-4McCullum would have walked to the crease with the intent of scoring quickly, but it is Brownlie who plays the scoring shot of the over, pulling the ball to the boundary.

NZ 319-4McCullum picks up his first four when he flicks the ball fine off his pads. Michael Vaughan has just supported an earlier tweet I posted about the weather, by tweeting that rain is on the way in Dunedin.

NZ 321-5WICKET! Brownlie (27) b Anderson

NZ 321-5England are just about staying in contention in this match, but they are going to need more of the same from Anderson, who sees Brownlie nick the ball onto his stumps with the final ball of the over. Anderson now has figures of 4-94.

NZ 326-6WICKET! Watling (0) b Broad

NZ 330-6New Zealand still lead by 159, but England are fighting back in Dunedin. McCullum loops the ball over the in-field for four, but after taking a single to bring Watling on strike, the New Zealand wicket-keeper leaves his first delivery, only to see it crash into his off stump. Tim Southee is at the crease, and a top-edge over Prior gets him off the mark.

NZ 333-6Responsibility has now fallen onto McCullum's shoulders to get his side to 400,and he gets two more runs by flicking the ball to midwicket. There has been no further update about any incoming rain.

NZ 342-6That is a quite ridiculous shot from Southee, who has powered a short ball from Broad over the square leg boundary. Apparantly, there are a few spots of rain in the air.

NZ 354-6Cook hands Anderson a breather, and brings back Finn. He is met with a barrage of boundaries from McCullum, but the Middlesex man could count himself a tad unfortunate with the third four, that flashed past the slip fielders. McCullum has moved to 27 off 25 balls.

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NZ 367-6You would have thought that Southee would have been focused on playing a support role to McCullum, but a thick edge over backward point suggests otherwise. McCullum has a quiet word, but Southee continues his assault with another six. He now has 23 from 11 balls.

NZ 370-6A relatively quiet over, with just three singles being scored. Pietersen has returned to the field after getting treatment on his injured knee.

NZ 370-7WICKET! Southee (25) b Broad

NZ 370-7Broad picks up his second wicket, and England will be relieved to see the back of Southee. Broad mixed up his pace well in that over, before Southee played and missed at a straight delivery.

NZ 376-7A solid over from Finn is ruined when picks up his sixth four off the final ball of the over. McCullum has moved to 34.

NZ 380-7Bruce Martin picks up his first boundary in Test cricket after guiding the ball down to third man. We are less than five minutes away from tea, and the next over could be the last.

NZ 385-7Finn continues to toil away for his side, but he remains wicketless after 26 overs. Martin strikes the final ball for four as New Zealand finish the session with a lead of 218 runs.

2.12amThe final session of the day could prove to be the pivotal one of the match. You would expect to see England back into bat before the close of play, and given the lead that New Zealand have already forged, they can't afford to lose wickets. See you in 15 minutes.

2.31amWelcome back for the final session of the day. It appears as though the umpires were a bit tentative at getting play started, but we appear to be ready to go. Monty Panesar is going to get his first look at the second new ball.

NZ 389-7A bit of bite from the surface as McCullum struggles to deal with Panesar's second delivery, but he has no problem in sending a wide ball to the boundary.

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NZ 394-7It is raining in the areas surrounding the University Oval, but we have yet to have any that is going to force the players off. McCullum moves to 43 with a pull off his back foot.

NZ 396-7Panesar very nearly bowls Martin out, but he just about gets bat on the ball to pick up a couple of runs.

NZ 402-7Prior makes a loud appeal for an edge off McCullum's bat, but the umpire says no. Replays show it was the correct call. Martin then gets lucky when an inside edge results in four runs to bring up the 400 for New Zealand.

NZ 402-7Maiden over for Panesar, just his second of the innings. The umpires have got together for a chat...

NZ 402-7RAIN STOPS PLAY

2.55amIt had been threatening for some time. It doesn't look particularly heavy, but rain has stopped play in Dunedin with New Zealand on 402-7, which gives them a lead of 235 runs.

2.58amThe impression from New Zealand is that this rain could be here for a while. Light is also going to become a factor as the day wears on. As soon as I have a further update, I will let you know.

3.04amUp until the covers came on, it had turned into quite an enjoyable day of Test cricket. New Zealand will be happy with forging a huge lead over England, but England have hung in well to pick up seven wickets in two and a bit sessions.

3.07amMore covers have now been brought onto the pitch, which suggests that we could be in for a lengthy delay. England will be content to spend the rest of the day in the dressing room, but New Zealand will be eager to get back out into the middle.

3.13am@Aggerscricket has just tweeted: "Doesn't look good for resumption. (Go to bed!)". Make of that what you will, but we still around two hours until the scheduled close of play.


3.19amDespite the break in play, both captains are probably in discussions with their respective sides as to what to do next. If the players get back out, you would think that McCullum will consider a declaration. An hour at the England top order could easily bring two or three wickets in the current conditions.

3.24amWe have an update from the umpires. They have said that the main issue right now is with the light. Another key point was that if play has not restarted by 5.30pm local time (4.30am GMT), then play will be called off for the day.

3.33amA further note to the details revealed by the umpires. If play does get started before the cut-off point, and there is no issue with the weather or light, it can continue up until 6.30pm local time (5.30am GMT).

3.44amBefore today's play, there had been claims that England had been complacent as they capitulated during day two, but batsman Jonathan Trott thinks otherwise. What do you think? Read the report here.

3.51amThe latest report is that it is now raining in Dunedin. There are just 40 minutes to go before play will be abandoned for the day.

4.00amEarlier, I mentioned that Hamish Rutherford was moving swiftly up the list for the highest scores on Test debut. He eventually reached seventh position, but the top five was definitely within his reach. Still, a breathtaking showing on his first appearance.

4.07amWithout trying to tempt fate or anything, you would have thought that if play was going to resume by 4.30am, we would have heard by now...

4.12amIf that is it for the day, you would fancy New Zealand to resume for the first hour of day four, before declaring. If they can establish a lead of 300, England will be forced to play for the draw.

4.19amIt hasn't been made official yet, but it appears that play has been called off for the day.

4.22amNow it's official. Quite a disappointing end after some decent entertainment in the afternoon, but England will be pleased that they have avoided being put into bat before the close of play.

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4.23amThat decision brings Sports Mole's coverage of day three to an end. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again tomorrow.

Stuart Broad
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