NZ XI v Eng XI, Tour match, Queenstown, 3rd day March 1, 2013

Prior, Swann stretch England's lead


England 256 for 9 (Prior 68, Gillespie 4-87) and 426 lead New Zealand XI 349 for 7 dec (Rutherford 90, Anderson 67, Watling 66*, Brownlie 63) by 333 runs

England's top order produced another uncertain display in Queenstown leaving some of the batsmen short of time ahead of the Test series to follow a poor morning with the ball which allowed the New Zealand XI to score at six-an-over.

Nick Compton and Kevin Pietersen could not make substantial contributions for the second time in the match. It was left to Matt Prior and later, an aggressive Graeme Swann in a 60-run partnership with Ian Bell, to ensure that England did not stumble completely in their attempt to set a matchwinning lead following Tom Latham's aggressive pre-lunch declaration. By the close of play, England had a strong advantage of 333 to set up an interesting final day.

Compton is entering a crucial Test series on a personal level. He needs to kick-on from the solid performances in India and show he can convert starts into match-dominating scores. On a gentle surface, although one on which the New Zealand XI bowlers, especially Neil Wagner, found more help than their England counterparts, there was a good chance for Compton to ease any nervousness. But he gloved a pull against Mark Gillespie in the first over after lunch.

Kevin Pietersen will shrug off his lack of time in the middle. He played one cracking square drive before pulling Wagner down the leg side where BJ Watling took an excellent catch. Jonathan Trott, however, was more visibly frustrated at his failure at an extended stay - nibbling outside off against Gillespie - and could be heard berating himself as he walked back.

There are no concerns over Alastair Cook, so his run out, in the bigger picture, was not a worry but more a quirk as it came soon after the first such dismissal of his first-class career - his run out in the Kolkata Test. He did not appear worried.

Prior, pushed up the order to No. 5, played with the fluency that makes him so watchable as he collected 11 boundaries in a brisk 68. His keenness to attack anything outside off ended his innings when he edged Wagner, the left-arm quick moving into pole position to take the final place in New Zealand's Test squad.

Wagner bowled sharply during the afternoon and England's play against his short-pitched bowling was not always convincing. Gillespie's aggressive late spell that accounted for Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad - the latter fending a short ball to gully - to take his haul to four may have come too late.

Before lunch, the home side had raced along after the second new-ball was taken. Latham, the New Zealand captain, however, closed the innings at 349 for 7 and kept the match very open.

England's bowling was profligate, particularly from Graham Onions, who returned with figures of 1 for 131 from 22 overs. And that wicket only came when Corey Anderson, the Canterbury allrounder, who had belted 67 off 62, including 22 off one of Onions' overs, clubbed to mid-on.

Onions had problems with his delivery stride, sending down five no-balls in six overs, as he drifted further from Test match contention. Broad, who had already moved very close to securing that position, wasn't without faults either as he conceded nearly a run-a-ball to somewhat dent his solid figures from previous day.

A considerable amount of damage to the bowling figures was done by Anderson despite a side strain he picked up on the opening day that ruled him out of bowling for the rest of the game. He was quick onto the pull (for which there were plenty of opportunities to play) and dispatched Onions for a six into the only stand at the ground. In total, 58 of his runs came in boundaries.

Watling, the Test wicketkeeper, was a steady partner in a rollicking stand of 105 in 18 overs and, like Dean Brownlie and Hamish Rutherford, will take confidence into the Test match.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 2, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    @zenboomerang - you have to consider what Prior has done on the domestic scene too I saw him a couple of times in the BB and he didn't look overly impressive. If Jos or whoever is doing a better job in the domestic game and is doing ok in the international arena , would you not say it's a risk bringing back a keeper who has not done that brilliantly in his previous long stint? I would say to give Wright a go at 3 in the ODIs and he is kind of in the same boat. The one difference is that he has been immense for Sussex and has shown enough in the T20s for England. As for Prior's pay.Not sure what he gets & while it's wrong if Wade gets better paid etc , it's still better than what Sussex would pay him.He could renage on renewing his contact with ECB but I think he's kidding himself if he thought the reason he wasnt picked for IPL was because he couldnt play the whole tourn.They just didn't see him as being good enough and for once I think they're right

  • Mark on March 2, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    @zenboomerang That is exactly what people said last time. So he got a long run in the side with poor results that got steadily worse. I repeat, 2 innings over 22 in has last 13 matches. Would you tolerate that from Kieswetter, or GO Jones, or Nixon, or ... and still say that he's the best for he job?????

  • Roo on March 2, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer... Seeing that Proir hasn't played an ODI for 2 years doesn't give us much information on how good he would perform today... Matts last series was the WC in Ind & SL - not a happy hunting ground for Eng - the series before for Matt was against Oz 3 years ago which again wasn't a great series for the team...

    Considering he is one of the worst paid Eng players he has reasons on why Test cricket is hurting his finances for him & his family... If Test cricket is Eng main focus, why do they pay their top players on their basic contracts only half what Oz cricketers get?... Wade gets more than 4 times the payments that Prior gets & he is just starting his career... lol... So what is important to the ECB?...

  • Ali on March 2, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    NZ declared , conceding 1st innings and still won ?

    i bet that has never happened in 1st class cricket before? has it ? time to ask Steven !

  • corey on March 2, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    well done watling, its a shame ronchi didnt get a game though, which i thought he was selected but i guess nz selectors wanted watling to have ANOTHER chance.

    as for the test now they wont select their best team so its a forgone conclusion

  • Rod on March 2, 2013, 1:46 GMT

    Bairstow has so far played 5 tests and only done well in one of them. No doubt he's talented, but hardly demanding a place instead of Compton who's played 4 tests and (without checking) done okay in all of them.

    I AM starting to worry about the depth of England's fast bowling. It seemed so good a year or two ago. Hope Broad, Onions, Bresnan, and Tremlett are able to get back into form. Woakes doesn't look too good so far.

  • John on March 2, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @Fiona Miles on (March 1, 2013, 16:34 GMT), Matt Prior has played 68 ODIs. How is that not being given a go?

  • John on March 2, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    @RandyUK on (March 1, 2013, 15:55 GMT), good thinking! Get your excuses in place now - over 4 months before the series starts while neither team is even in the country - and they may not sound quite so pathetic when the time comes.

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    England proving yet again how mediocre they are!