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May 10, 2008
England Lions 280 and 275 for 5 (Carberry 100 ret hurt, Prior 47) lead New Zealanders 273 (Redmond 146, Hoggard 3-45, Onions 3-53) by 282 runs
The one man to make the most of ideal batting conditions was Michael Carberry - a long way from an England call-up despite his presence in this team - with a 183-ball century. However, his innings ended almost immediately when he pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring strain after his celebrations and was carried off on a stretcher. At one stage the groundsman's truck was also on the ground in case Carberry needed a lift off, although an ECB spokesman said it was "a severe case of cramp."
It was an unfortunate way for his innings to end after he'd pressed the accelerator during his second fifty, which took 56 balls compared to 127 for the first. He was the stand-out batsman on the Lions tour of India in January and February where they took part in the Duleep Trophy and received some positive reviews.
But for Carberry the prospect of an England cap is a long-term aim needing another impressive summer's work for Hampshire. Other members of the top order are much closer, and one could be called into the Test squad on Sunday if cover is needed for Paul Collingwood after he required an injection in his right shoulder yesterday.
Key would be an unlikely option given that he is an opening batsman and wasn't involved with England during the winter. For the second time in two days he fell when well set, trapped lbw by Jacob Oram for 30. For a long while as Carberry and Shah pottered along it wasn't clear what the Lions were trying to achieve form the match, but there were plenty of personal agendas at stake.
Shah travelled around all winter without a look-in at the Test side. After a typically nervous start, he expanded his strokeplay against Jeetan Patel, lofting him for six over deep midwicket and another down the ground. But just as he was beginning to flow Chris Martin returned to trapped him lbw playing across the line.
However, England would likely want to cover for Collingwood's bowling should he miss out. That, therefore, opens the door for Ravi Bopara - although he was only given a single over by Key in the first innings. Bopara failed in the first innings here, dragging Tim Southee into his stumps, trying to leave and couldn't cash in second time around when he top-edged a hook which looped to second slip.
Matt Prior provided some welcome impetus during the final session with a confident 47 until he fell sweeping at Patel, a first wicket for the offspinner who has bowled better than his figures suggest. The Lions' lead grew at increasing speed - Wright swinging his arms before being trapped by Southee - setting up the prospect of a declaration at some stage during the morning of the final day if they are serious about trying to win the match.
The New Zealanders will look upon this as another useful workout ahead of the Tests, but while their seamers were economical they lacked bite. They were without Iain O'Brien with a sore calf but he is hopeful of being able to bowl on the last day. Daniel Vettori has had his stitches removed from the finger injury on his left hand he picked up at Chelmsford and can now start assessing how bowling feels. Aaron Redmond, who was the last man out in New Zealand's innings for 146, was given an extended run with his legspin, but he'll be hoping there isn't too much work for him at Lord's.
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