England Lions v NZ, Tour Match, Grace Road, 3rd day May 11, 2013

Southee worry amid Lions dominance

England Lions 315 for 4 (Root 143*) lead New Zealanders 285 by 30 runs
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James Taylor missed the chance to further bolster his impressive England Lions record when he fell cheaply on a rain-ruined day but Joe Root continued to add to his early season tally to start building a lead, while New Zealand picked up an injury worry over Tim Southee.

Taylor, who came in after the nightwatchman Chris Wright had edged to slip, pushed at a delivery quite wide of off stump and feathered to the wicketkeeper to give Trent Boult his second scalp of the morning during the 22 overs of play that were possible before frequent heavy showers wiped out the rest of the day

Boult had problems with his front foot on the second day, sending down eight no-balls, but was in far better rhythm this morning after shaking off the early tour rust. He shaped the ball in nicely to the right handers, then it was the straighter deliveries that found the edges of both Wright and Taylor.

His opening bowling partner, Southee, bowled five overs in the morning before being sent to see a specialist about a problem with his left foot and would not have bowled again had rain allowed further play

Root continued to look at ease, and even when he was almost beaten in the flight by a delivery from Bruce Martin he was confident enough to go through with his shot and found the deep midwicket boundary. Root now has 610 first-class runs this season at 203.33.

Jonny Bairstow, who was earlier confirmed in England's Test squad alongside Root, made a brisk start to his innings as he tried to follow his Yorkshire team-mate's route (the pair's careers have evolved together since they earned scholarships aged 13 and 14) and score some early points against the New Zealand bowlers before Lord's.

"I've got a few runs under my belt at Headingley and still not out in this game, which is pleasing," he said. "There have been a lot of players scoring runs this season and I'm lucky enough to be picked. Hopefully I'll do myself justice."

Martin bore the brunt of Bairstow's attacking display but the suggestion remains that New Zealand favour a balanced attack for the Test rather than playing four quicks. Doug Bracewell has been steady here, and was denied Root's wicket yesterday when he was dropped at slip, but has not completely convinced that he would be a better option to Neil Wagner - although if Southee's problem is serious there could be room for both.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 12, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    Damn shame about the rain. NZ have been denied some valuable warmup time and some of the Lions players have been denied an opportunity to impress. Assuming that the rain stays away for the final day, I'm guessing that the Lions will make a dash for an hour or two and then get NZ back in and hope to bowl like they did on day 2. NZ were in a bit of bother without Rutherford's innings so a Lions win is not completely out of the question, although rather unlikely. From NZ's point of view, I wonder whether they might open with someone other than Rutherford because there are a few people who could benefit from the time in the middle more than him.

  • Samuel on May 11, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    Do like it when the Lions give the touring opposition a bit of a run around, which they've done consistently over the past couple of years. Despite the knock to Southee, I don't think NZ mind either - better to have a tough, proper game for a warm-up than an easy walkover. Nice to see runs for Root and Bairstow - it's all set up for Root to get a pair in the Tests now though, isn't it? His form is too good to be true. Just a shame the rain's ruined it really - could've been a really exciting finish if not.

  • John on May 11, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Root's a machine these days. It may just be coincidence but international cricket really seems to have agreed with him. He didn;t have great series in NZ so this is a welcome return to form. Here's hoping he keeps it up during the Test series. Disappointed to see Taylor go cheaply but it seems that Bairstow was always going to be the man selected to take KP's spot so he hasn't necessarily lost anything. He'll be keen to make some runs to reinforce his claim with the selectors though, after being left out of the Performance squad, and it looks likely that he won't get a second go at bat in this game. Given that Bairstow is in the Test squad though, it's good to see him at his attacking best, backing up his big hundred for Yorkshire recently.

  • Hamish on May 11, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    I said last tour game that it would be borderline disgraceful to drop Wagner - he was the reason boult and souhee were more successful - and I guess this bowling performance just reaffirms it. Wagner is the perfect first change bowler and as is well documented: England have struggled more against the left handed quicks (excluding MJ).

    Well done to root, a very very good prospect. Thought it was amazing how much hyperbole there was about him - 'next captain' after one test...- but for once, the England hyperbole was and is justified! I think that's three big centuries in three innings? It looks that the international call up has made him that much better a player, and batting wise things are looking good for england's future.

    I'm only commenting at the lunch break and I know its only a tour match... But keeping in mind england's recent test success in may, and that they would've lost their complacency: this series mightn't be as close. Still looking forward to watching it though.

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