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New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington, 3rd day
David Lloyd: England's lead is unassailable
March 15, 2008
An unspectacular day of cricket, but England made steady progress and most importantly took their lead past 400
 
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Alastair Cook: a first six in international cricket © Getty Images
 

Andrew Miller: Today England built well on their overnight lead of 148, carried it past 400 mark, but David Lloyd alongside me, it wasn't the most spectacular day of cricket that we have had?

David Lloyd: No, I think they are maneuvering their position England and the one thing that they do have is time. You've got two more days left in the game; the lead is unassailable for me, they have worked their way towards it.

We've had a great day here at Wellington and it's been perfect for England's batsmen. Mark Richardson said that if the sun comes out then the pitch will be much easier. It's still doing enough for the quicker bowlers but you've got to bowl straight and you've got to bowl accurately. So, England will be thrilled by the conditions today but the first thing that they will do tomorrow morning, throw the curtains back and hope for a cloudy and chilly day tomorrow.

AM: What do we make of England's batting, because a lot has been made of the lack of confidence in the top order, an once again several people got in but no one quite went on?

DL: They've got the lead, that's number one. It's been a nearly innings, they've nearly done very well. They didn't press the accelerator and try and take New Zealand to cleaners, which I thought they could have done and pushed on a lot more. Andrew Strauss, we will talk about him, showed glimpses - he got to 44 and he survived one massive lbw and then played all around one to be lbw, but what he has done is to ensure that he plays in the last Test match on one of the flattest pitch that you are ever going to see down in Napier.

Alistair Cook played attractively for 60, Paul Collingwood continues to be England's Mr Reliable, it's been a nearly innings for him. I thought Kevin Pietersen was getting there and you need a little bit of luck, but that was wretched luck - Ian Bell drives the ball back down the ground, Chris Martin gets a finger end on it and he is about 2 meters or a meter short of his ground. So England satisfied with their day's work but it has been unspectacular.

AM: Pietersen must be feeling gutted now, it's now ten innings without even a half century, it's his worst trot in international cricket and I suppose it shows that he is human after all.

DL: It [his average] has just dropped below an average of fifty for the first time. So in my opinion he is going to take somebody to the cleaners, Kevin Pietersen. He has had some difficult situation to bat in, and I am going back to Sri Lanka on the pitches which were very slow and England in trouble, he had to stay in and not play in his own way, his natural way and it was the same case in Hamilton. If he gets in at Napier then it might be a totally different story, because we all know what Kevin is like. He has got a brilliant ego, which is good ego for playing cricket, and he must be saying that somebody is going to suffer for this.

AM: There was one exciting moment earlier in the day, a memorable moment of Alistair Cook - he has gone more than two years in international cricket, hit 310 fours and finally he has hit his first six.

DL: Well, he will have to embellish that story over the years, say about 10 years time, that he hit his first six at Wellington. It was a searing pull over the square leg, it wasn't, it was a top edge that carried over the wicket keeper's head, nobody actually saw it in the end, but it crept over the line and that's his first six; so that stat is gone.

AM: So we know the stat - England haven't won overseas since their victory in India two years ago, they are looking good to do here, do you think New Zealand can save the game?

DL: No, I don't. I think England can get right into that top order. A lot will depend on that weather; I think we are still going to see a quick pitch in Wellington. It's been a very interesting cricket pitch without the spinners being involved. Who knows, two days cricket, will Monty Panesar have a roll to play in this? I doubt whether he will. It's all about England's pace bowlers bowling straight, aggressively and accurately; throwing the curtains back tomorrow and playing for a little bit of cloud.

AM: Well, there we have it - England have made unspectacular but very steady progress on the third day at Wellington. You've been listening to Cricinfo Talk.

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