New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 4th day March 25, 2013

New Zealand on top after setting England 481

102

England 204 and 90 for 4 (Cook 43, Williamson 2-5) need another 391 runs v New Zealand 443 and 241 for 6 dec (Fulton 110, McCullum 67*)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand are on course for an historic series victory against England after dominating the fourth day of the final Test in Auckland. Peter Fulton's second century of the match took New Zealand out of reach, but it was the bowlers who hammered nails into the coffin of England's hopes to salvage a draw. England will resume on the final day with just six wickets in hand and all three of their most obdurate batsmen gone.

Fulton, who came into the game having not scored a century in a Test career that began in 2006, pulverised the England attack on the fourth day in a devastating partnership with his captain, Brendon McCullum, that did not so much close the door on England's hopes as slam it in their faces.

Fulton's heroics have earned New Zealand an outstanding opportunity to claim just the second home series win in their history against England. The first was in 1983-84. New Zealand have not won a series against any of the top eight Test nations - nations other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe - since they defeated West Indies in 2006.

Here they set England 481 to win the third Test and, with it, the series. New Zealand finally declared on 241 for 6 in their second innings having plundered runs with ease against a dispirited attack.

The manner with which Fulton brought up his second century of the match - a straight six thumped back over the head of Stuart Broad - spoke volumes for the balance of power in this encounter: New Zealand, roundly dismissed as no-hopers before the series, established dominance over an England team that arrived in the country full of confidence, having just beaten India in India.

New Zealand, resuming 274 ahead at the start of play on the fourth day, extended their advantage by another 206 runs in just 34.2 overs. Fulton, batting with more confidence than at any time in his Test career following his maiden century in the first innings, drove powerfully through mid-on and three times took a step or two down the pitch to thump Monty Panesar for six back over the bowler's head. As his confidence grew, he gave himself room to drive Anderson over extra cover for six more.

He became one of just four New Zealand players to have scored one in each innings of the same Test. Glenn Turner (against Australia in 1973-74), Geoff Howarth (against England in 1977-78) and Andrew Jones (against Sri Lanka in 1991) are the others to have done so.

His fifth-wicket partnership with his captain, Brendon McCullum, was worth 117 runs, scored in just 16.5 overs, as New Zealand progressed with an ease that made a mockery of the gap between these two teams in the Test rankings.

Fulton enjoyed one moment of fortune. When he had 31, he mistimed his attempted on drive off Stuart Broad but saw James Anderson, at a shortish midwicket, spill a sharp but far from impossible chance. New Zealand would have been 65 for 4 had it been taken.

England produced an oddly diffident performance in the field. Their attempt to pitch the ball fuller in search of swing that remained elusive too often resulted in over-pitched deliveries that Fulton drove through mid-on. At other times the England bowlers drifted on to Fulton's legs, allowing him to pick up runs with an ease that defined the match situation.

The introduction of Panesar brought some relief for England. His third delivery induced Dean Brownlie to attempt to clear the field. Ian Bell, running back from mid-on, made a desperately tough chance appear straightforward.

But that only brought McCullum to the crease. He square drove his first delivery, a wide, over-pitched ball from Steven Finn, to the point boundary and soon pulled Anderson, looking more jaded by the moment, and Finn for sixes.

Panesar bore the brunt of the assault, though, His attempt to stem the flow by bowling over the wicket and into the rough outside the right-handers' leg stump was negated when McCullum took him for successive boundaries, a powerful pull followed by a precise sweep, and drove him for another six. Panesar conceded 52 in five overs at one point. It was brutal batting.

Whatever Alastair Cook envisaged when he won the toss and inserted New Zealand on the first day, it was surely not a situation where his side had to bat for four-and-a-half sessions to save the game. There were no realistic hopes of victory: England have never chased more than the 332 they made against Australia in Melbourne in 1928-29 to win a Test and no team has ever made more than the 418 West Indies made against Australia in Antigua in 2002-03. The highest successful chase on this ground is 348, made by West Indies in 1968-69, though since the introduction of drop-in pitches just over a decade ago, no side has managed more than the 166 scored, admittedly for the loss of just one wicket, in 2005.

Nor is this the England team that enjoyed such success a couple of years ago. Not only is there no Kevin Pietersen, but there are fewer lower-order allrounders such as Graeme Swann or Tim Bresnan. Two of the middle-order, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, came into this game with only eight Test caps between them and the days when Stuart Broad could be considered an allrounder seem long ago.

Tim Southee soon made inroads into England's second innings. Nick Compton, feeling for a fine delivery that pitched on off stump and left him, edged a catch behind the stumps before Jonathan Trott squandered his display of resistance by chasing a wide one from the impressively sharp Neil Wagner, bowling left-arm around the wicket.

But the hammer blow was inflicted by part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson. Cook, on one, had survived a chance to BJ Watling when he felt for one angled across him from Southee. But when he edged a drive off Williamson, Brownlie, very close in at gully, clung on to a very sharp chance.

With Finn, the nightwatchman, also falling to an outstanding close catch before the close, New Zealand were on the brink of a memorable success. It meant that a series that started with many England supporters presuming an easy victory looks set to finish with their team engaged in a desperate - and surely vain - struggle to salvage a draw.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Glenn10 on March 25, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    NZ are on the verge of an historic series victory. Great performances by Fulton, Williamson McCullum and Boult, but everyone has chipped in at some stage. Brownlie and Southee's catches today were just unbelievable. They would probably go down on most other days, but this was no other day. It will be tough to get the last 6 wickets on this pitch, but I think there is a steely determination in this side, not seen in a long time. Fulton must feel some quiet satisfaction. This was his once in a lifetime performance that he'll always look back on with pride. He batted magnificently. England have tried hard, but in the end have been surprisingly out performed. They wil be stronger at home in a few months and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a number changes to their lineup. Broad and Panasaer havent looked much in this series, however I don't think Bresnan and Swann will be fit. Maybe its the end of an era, as England turn to the likes of Root and Bairstow. Go the black caps!

  • CurrentPresident on March 25, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    NZ may seem on top, but the they have given England a chance to save the match by declaring quite late. 480 or 420 it's the same. Without Peterson, England are not going for any 400+ target in the fourth innings.

    That's where the Australians are a bit better - taking a calculated chance. England were very hungry to win this match and any remotely gettable target would have induced more errors and more wickets. As things stand, they have shut shop and are not taking any risks.

  • Long-Leg on March 25, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    @icknid: I don't think England have been bullies (they are not good enough to bully teams), but they have been arrogant, particularly in this test. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I think England crossed that line. I honestly think they underestimated New Zealand and have been thoroughly outplayed and outthought as a consequence. In the medium term I think England will bounce back and I think they will beat NZ and Australia in England, but if they have to lose a test then I am glad it is this one. Firstly because it will teach them a lesson in humility and secondly because New Zealanders are excellent people and I mind my team losing to them just a little bit less.

  • landl47 on March 25, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Anyone who uses this thread to criticize England is doing New Zealand a disservice. NZ has played extremely well and has outbatted, outbowled, outfielded and outcaptained England in this game. It's been an excellent performance by the kiwis and they would have beaten anyone except perhaps South Africa with their play in this game.

    England will no doubt examine what they could have done differently, but the truth is not much. Sometimes a side just gets it all right and this has been one of those occasions for NZ. I take my hat off to them.

  • icknid on March 25, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    How should bullies be treated? Well, if you give back and then some, they usually cry off. All the posturing and arrogance that England have shown over last few years really winds me up. The sledging and air of superiority has had little effect on this New Zealand team - they are young and talented, probably a couple of bowlers short of being a very good side. Poor 2 metres Pete Fulton !! He copped so much abuse from Anderson, Finn, and Broad in the first two test matches, and was labelled by the pundits as with 'limited' ability. Well, he has responded like a man - with his bat.... and not by being abusive. The forthcoming Ashes tour look competitive - between two average sides. And England have to get through New Zealand again in May and June....Hmmm!

  • Sombrehombre on March 25, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    What the English supporters and English team didnt realise is NZ have actually got talented players that can compete with them. The overriding attitude seemed to be about turning up and winning.

    NZ's problem is not talent, its consistency. McCullum unfortunately personifies this. The exciting thing is the core of this team is so young. Williamson, Rutherford, Southee, Boult, Bracewell, Watling, Latham.. all young talented players with the world at their feet. Consistency will hopefully come with maturity. Gogo NZ!

    Apologies for not focussing on England or India in my post.

  • on March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    An absolute brutal assault on England's bowlers by 2 meter Peter. Did you watch it? Could you hear the thunderous shot cracking!!!!, reverberating around the stadium like a 21 gun salute? I did, not live, but live on telly. Here here to the man. It matters not if the Kiwis lose in May - and who's to say they will. What matters is they played some of the most brilliant cricket you will see from the under dog, they have played with the Spirit of the game as it should be played. Not only out bowled with swing and turn, out batted with patience, and brutality, but England have really been out thought. NZ showing just how cunning and precise they can be, no doubt borrowing brilliance and belief in the way they play from their World Cup winning Rugby team. They haven't won it yet. Do they deserve to? I'll bet Mccullum wont let them even think about whats deserved untilll it has been achieved.

  • Missmandy on March 25, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    All is not lost for England,though the state of the game suggests England will lose around teatime....however always expect the unexpected! I think there was a personal element in Alastairs decision to insert New Zealand after winning the toss,being an opening bat maybe he didn't want to risk himself nor his team batting first on what could have been a difficult track.As the mistake became more evident as the day progressed he appeared to have lost the bowlers. All our fielders around the boundary during their 2nd innings,all their fielders around our batsmen during our 2nd innings.What kind of message does send to the Kiwis..Their confidence,dominance and superiority has grown exponentially during the game whilst ours has evaporated. Alastair is a world class batsman and has the potential to be a world class captain but it will take time.Regardless of the outcome of this game I'm sure this series will be a valuable lesson for him.Come on Alastair an the boys.

  • hhillbumper on March 25, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    to be honest England have played like a bunch of bankers (Its rhyming slang. They need to sort out why after such a good series win they play like complete planks. As for Bell if he doesn't save this match then he should kiss goodbye. He has all the long term planning of a kamikaze pilot.

  • on March 25, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    A highly inconsistent and mediocre team was made out to be something they aren't. Thanks to the English media and some of their highly illustrious and expressive fans on these forums. This is why I can't wait for the Ashes as a neutral. Australia are going to surprise these English. I have always felt the Australians had better fast bowlers than England. Both teams are inconsistent and have faulty batsmen. England might enjoy home crowd support but that's about it. NZ have thoroughly exposed the fallibility of England's resources. They thought they could show up and trounce NZ 3-zip. Too bad, that's not going to happen. NZ looking good to win the series from here on.

  • Glenn10 on March 25, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    NZ are on the verge of an historic series victory. Great performances by Fulton, Williamson McCullum and Boult, but everyone has chipped in at some stage. Brownlie and Southee's catches today were just unbelievable. They would probably go down on most other days, but this was no other day. It will be tough to get the last 6 wickets on this pitch, but I think there is a steely determination in this side, not seen in a long time. Fulton must feel some quiet satisfaction. This was his once in a lifetime performance that he'll always look back on with pride. He batted magnificently. England have tried hard, but in the end have been surprisingly out performed. They wil be stronger at home in a few months and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a number changes to their lineup. Broad and Panasaer havent looked much in this series, however I don't think Bresnan and Swann will be fit. Maybe its the end of an era, as England turn to the likes of Root and Bairstow. Go the black caps!

  • CurrentPresident on March 25, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    NZ may seem on top, but the they have given England a chance to save the match by declaring quite late. 480 or 420 it's the same. Without Peterson, England are not going for any 400+ target in the fourth innings.

    That's where the Australians are a bit better - taking a calculated chance. England were very hungry to win this match and any remotely gettable target would have induced more errors and more wickets. As things stand, they have shut shop and are not taking any risks.

  • Long-Leg on March 25, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    @icknid: I don't think England have been bullies (they are not good enough to bully teams), but they have been arrogant, particularly in this test. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I think England crossed that line. I honestly think they underestimated New Zealand and have been thoroughly outplayed and outthought as a consequence. In the medium term I think England will bounce back and I think they will beat NZ and Australia in England, but if they have to lose a test then I am glad it is this one. Firstly because it will teach them a lesson in humility and secondly because New Zealanders are excellent people and I mind my team losing to them just a little bit less.

  • landl47 on March 25, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Anyone who uses this thread to criticize England is doing New Zealand a disservice. NZ has played extremely well and has outbatted, outbowled, outfielded and outcaptained England in this game. It's been an excellent performance by the kiwis and they would have beaten anyone except perhaps South Africa with their play in this game.

    England will no doubt examine what they could have done differently, but the truth is not much. Sometimes a side just gets it all right and this has been one of those occasions for NZ. I take my hat off to them.

  • icknid on March 25, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    How should bullies be treated? Well, if you give back and then some, they usually cry off. All the posturing and arrogance that England have shown over last few years really winds me up. The sledging and air of superiority has had little effect on this New Zealand team - they are young and talented, probably a couple of bowlers short of being a very good side. Poor 2 metres Pete Fulton !! He copped so much abuse from Anderson, Finn, and Broad in the first two test matches, and was labelled by the pundits as with 'limited' ability. Well, he has responded like a man - with his bat.... and not by being abusive. The forthcoming Ashes tour look competitive - between two average sides. And England have to get through New Zealand again in May and June....Hmmm!

  • Sombrehombre on March 25, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    What the English supporters and English team didnt realise is NZ have actually got talented players that can compete with them. The overriding attitude seemed to be about turning up and winning.

    NZ's problem is not talent, its consistency. McCullum unfortunately personifies this. The exciting thing is the core of this team is so young. Williamson, Rutherford, Southee, Boult, Bracewell, Watling, Latham.. all young talented players with the world at their feet. Consistency will hopefully come with maturity. Gogo NZ!

    Apologies for not focussing on England or India in my post.

  • on March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    An absolute brutal assault on England's bowlers by 2 meter Peter. Did you watch it? Could you hear the thunderous shot cracking!!!!, reverberating around the stadium like a 21 gun salute? I did, not live, but live on telly. Here here to the man. It matters not if the Kiwis lose in May - and who's to say they will. What matters is they played some of the most brilliant cricket you will see from the under dog, they have played with the Spirit of the game as it should be played. Not only out bowled with swing and turn, out batted with patience, and brutality, but England have really been out thought. NZ showing just how cunning and precise they can be, no doubt borrowing brilliance and belief in the way they play from their World Cup winning Rugby team. They haven't won it yet. Do they deserve to? I'll bet Mccullum wont let them even think about whats deserved untilll it has been achieved.

  • Missmandy on March 25, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    All is not lost for England,though the state of the game suggests England will lose around teatime....however always expect the unexpected! I think there was a personal element in Alastairs decision to insert New Zealand after winning the toss,being an opening bat maybe he didn't want to risk himself nor his team batting first on what could have been a difficult track.As the mistake became more evident as the day progressed he appeared to have lost the bowlers. All our fielders around the boundary during their 2nd innings,all their fielders around our batsmen during our 2nd innings.What kind of message does send to the Kiwis..Their confidence,dominance and superiority has grown exponentially during the game whilst ours has evaporated. Alastair is a world class batsman and has the potential to be a world class captain but it will take time.Regardless of the outcome of this game I'm sure this series will be a valuable lesson for him.Come on Alastair an the boys.

  • hhillbumper on March 25, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    to be honest England have played like a bunch of bankers (Its rhyming slang. They need to sort out why after such a good series win they play like complete planks. As for Bell if he doesn't save this match then he should kiss goodbye. He has all the long term planning of a kamikaze pilot.

  • on March 25, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    A highly inconsistent and mediocre team was made out to be something they aren't. Thanks to the English media and some of their highly illustrious and expressive fans on these forums. This is why I can't wait for the Ashes as a neutral. Australia are going to surprise these English. I have always felt the Australians had better fast bowlers than England. Both teams are inconsistent and have faulty batsmen. England might enjoy home crowd support but that's about it. NZ have thoroughly exposed the fallibility of England's resources. They thought they could show up and trounce NZ 3-zip. Too bad, that's not going to happen. NZ looking good to win the series from here on.

  • 64blip on March 25, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Some posters have short memories. The England team was in meltdown last summer, Strauss gone, Pietersen in limbo, a divided dressing room, just lost a series and #1 ranking to SA and a tour of India to come. That really was some series win in India, just look what's happened to Australia out there. This has been a poor England performance and a good New Zealand one, but it has not suddenly made us a bad team. As for 5 bowlers, 4 under performing seamers are no better than 3. IF, that's IF, we had a Flintoff or Kallis, fine, but we do not. Let's not press the panic button like the Aussies have done, start a rotating door selection policy, fill our team with bits and pieces players and bat the keeper at 6.

  • whoster on March 25, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    This is so typical of England - denying us a good laugh at the Aussies' expense by being so inept against modest opposition. Seriously though, NZ have been superb, and will fully deserve this series victory (unless something quite miraculous happens). But, however well NZ have played, England have been really poor. From the dreadful opening batting performance at Dunedin, to several lacklustre performances from our bowlers, this really isn't good enough. The way England have gone into their shell in both innings of this match is unforgiveable. Yes, NZ have bowled well, but with the amount of respect the England batsman have given them, it's as if they were facing the Windies pace battery of the 80's. Really disappointing - and the only silver lining for England with The Ashes approaching is that Australia are even worse!

  • NostroGustro on March 25, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Out-batted, out-bowled! Sorry English fans but you're team were reduced to a rabble on the field. Nine, yes nine fielders resting their heels on the boundary rope at times - never seen that before. I can't think of one positive for you to cling to sorry. And then your two run-machines getting out to expansive shots when reducing, not increasing your shots was required. England were poor, but NZ were fantastic. Great batting in the morning and afternoon sessions. And much tighter lines and lengths in the afternoon and evening, backed up by great catching! Have to say though, Bruce did not bowl well which was a concern. Not celebrating a win yet, Bell's showing some pluck, Root showed he can stick around and Prior is a very dangerous batsman. One can easily defend the old ball on this wicket still. But if England lose three wickets, it'll all be over quickly with that very long tail.

  • Crinklyoldbugger on March 25, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    Quite interesting how the new older players in the NZ team have performed. The modern trend to starting young bright supposedly talented players does not always work. Maturity coupled with ability will always win through. Give the more experienced domestic players a chance and you won't be dissappointed.

  • Scube on March 25, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    I checked the scores when Bell was on 1 and then couple of hours later, I found him on 8 and I thought rain must be playing spoilsport! On closer look, it appears that runs have stopped raining, err..sorry drizzling! Cook at 1, Nick at 2, Trott at 3, Bell at 4...Test cricket done to death forever unless ECB starts paying the public to watch! Still, they might find few takers!

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    @Bob Friend - Not at all. It's my opinion which I've explained and I'm entitled to and does not show any lack of awareness re test cricket. I remember one of the tests in the last Ashes series where we had already built up a big 1st inns lead and I was screaming for Strauss to declare and they batted on and on. Aus closed the 4th day I think 4 down with maybe North and Hussey (2 of the better performers of the series) at the crease.On the final morning Eng finished the Aus side off. At dinner time it bucketed it down for the rest of the day so if Aus had held out til dinner time we'd have drawn. SA in one of their tests vs NZ on last tour IMO declared too late and drew. Had they won they'd have overtaken Eng @#1 far earlier than they eventually did. Obviously he may have consulted with his bowlers on this so fair play.

  • sjm5000 on March 25, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    England have big problems with their batting. Witness Bell, since Pak series in 2012 he has scored the sum total of 758 runs in 30 innings. He has failed to exert any authority for a couple of years. Compton is historically boring, it's watching test cricket starve itself to death, his shot limitations and inability to rotate the strike ensure that every innings gets off to a stalls right at the start.

  • on March 25, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    I am the world's best batsman because I hit the last ball I faced for six. I am the world's best bowler because the last ball I bowled took a wicket. And all this despite playing for the world's worst team, I know this because we lost the last match we played.

    See, all sounds a bit silly doesn't it.

    NZ are an average team having a very good few weeks. England are a good, maybe very good team having a very bad few weeks. Neither side is about to challenge for the top spot in the rankings and neither deserves to be at the bottom.

    The fact that NZ are about to beat Eng is certainly preferable to knowing the result before the series even started, but it does not change the fact that if you turned back the clock and asked me the question, I would still back England to win the series, because (assuming a non-deterministic universe in which the same outcome does not always result from the same starting parameters) most the time I would be right.

    Well played NZ. See you in May.

  • liz1558 on March 25, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    How many of this current England side would break into Vaughan's team of 2003 - 2005? Prior for Geraint Jones? Swann for the wheelie bin? Where it mattered most - in the fast bowling department, Flintoff, Harmison and Jones could all swing the ball AND bowl at 90mph +; they were simply better bowlers than the current lot. Maybe Fletcher overdid the love for fast bowlers, but Flower has done himself few favours by holding extreme pace, aggression and hositility in contempt. It may cause his downfall.

  • mikey76 on March 25, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    I think England's brains trust need to sit down and honestly discuss if this really is the best XI they can put on the park. We saw last summer on some flat wickets the quicks struggle to make an impression, and we've seen the same here against some not exactly stellar batsmen. I'm sure come May on some green tops these guys will sythe through the NZ batsmen and complete a 2-0 win, but that will just paper over the cracks. Some of the Batsmen need to ask themselves if they are really giving 100% to the cause. Bell and Pietersen in their prime would have dismissed this NZ attack with ease. Maybe its time to actively seek out a genuine all rounder to bat 6(Stokes) or move Prior up to 6. Either way its abundantly clear we need 5 bowlers. Cook needs to change his approach from the Strauss era to a mindset more like Michael Vaughan...if he has that ability?? A lot of issues need to be addressed before we face SA away in a couple of years.

  • on March 25, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    NZ must be favourites to win this Test from this overnight position. England have lost a couple of wickets too many for my liking, but this could be the making of the two Yorkshire batsmen. I think England need to bat until the middle of the second session without losing any further wickets before they can even think of forcing the draw. That's our best hope.

  • mahjut on March 25, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    I don't give many hoots about Bell, but having watched AB go at no better than Bell's 8 from 89 - while partnering Faf in the game saving innings against the aussies - I wouldn't dismiss his approach too soon! ... into the 5th day; 6 wickets to save the match, 6 wickets to win it !!! Even as a nuetral, this is the best of Test cricket. with some decent batting still to come I hope England don't capitulate before tea but am rooting for NZ (as the percieved minnow).

  • samincolumbia on March 25, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    It's time for ECB to tap the 'local' talent...in South Africa! Come on Kiwis...give them a proper thrashing tomorrow and celebrate the historic win that you guys richly deserve.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on March 25, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    It is looking grim for England, all in all the Kiwis probably deserve to win the series as they have won more sessions. Nice to see fans of the team we recently beat at home now labelling England as ordinary- this makes their own performance sub-ordinary surely. Time for Bell to silence his critics and make a telling contribution "when it matters", Root is an excellent crease occupier when circumstances dictate. I do feel our attack has looked un-menacing, I expected Finn to do more and Jimmy to be the pick of the swingers, full credit to NZ by the way for generally applying themselves better over the series. Wait till you come to England (I jest of course).

  • nlpdave on March 25, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    Perhaps it's time at last for the regime that has been living off the last ashes wins for far too long is replaced by some flair and innovation. It's hard to beat anyone if you can't bowl them out and before one gets too carried away NZ are still very flaky with both bat and ball, a fact that will soon become all too apparent. However, England have been truly awful, no threat with the ball and no dominance with the bat. Whilst NZ have played proficiently and bowled generally straight as they usually do they are no world beaters. It looks as though the ashes will still be a hard fought contest as both participants are sliding rapidly down the rankings.

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 25, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    I see Bell has scored a dynamic death defying 8 runs off 89 balls. He bats at 4 in this game,Kp's spot. Is it remotely right that such flair and charisma sho0uold give way to such strokeless stupidity.I hope this Bell's last knock for a while;he really needs to go and reinvent himself at Warwickshire for a year or two. Although he has had no cricket Bairstow should have had 4-at least the very number 4 would not have been so sullied! This is morally spiritually and psychologically NZ's match and I will applaud them fully For in Ian Bell particularly we find what is wrong with England. No fire, no enthusiasm and no fun. And above all no progress.

  • jplterrors on March 25, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Surprisingly we didnt role through them all today but tomorrow will do, Cook needs to get some tips from Fulton best opening bat in the game.

  • Jaffa79 on March 25, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Very poor from England. It is alarming how England's bowlers looked ordinary on a strip that the Kiwis got life from. I can only hope that this puts a rocket up a few of them. Fair play to NZ, an under rated team and they have taken advantage of Eng;iosh complacency. I agree that SA now look head and shoulders above Eng, India, Aus and Pakistan. The race is for 2nd at the moment!

  • 158notout on March 25, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    SurlyCynic - agree with your sentiment but not the facts. Did England not beat West Indies at home last summer? And India away this winter? So that makes it 2 series defeats in last four doesn't it? You need to go back 6 series to get 3 losses i think.

    True though that England are looking poor, so are the Aussies. I predict home wins for both Ashes series this year. England need to get their batting in order.

  • Majorraki on March 25, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    Give credit where its due.NZ plyed very well and like the author justly points out Englands bowlers are not performing as a unit.Greame swann couldnt have done any better than monty panesar in unfriendly tracks,except for offering the English tail more sting while batting.Missing one specialist batsmen in pietersen shouldnt matter when you have a dream lineup of cook,bell,trott,prior.For sometime now you get the feeling that the Engish batsmen have become more susceptible to swing bowling and their shot selection especially from the four mentioned above will be a point of discussion going into the ashes.well NZ is finally back with a bang in Test cricket!!!

  • on March 25, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    @JG2704 RE: " Still critical of BM for is batting too long. IMO they could have safely declared anything up to 100 runs earlier."...... No offence, but some of your comments show a lack of awareness of Test cricket. By being so far ahead, NZ demoralized England even more, tired them out, and made only a draw possible for them. It also allows NZ to set attacking fields despite how many runs England are able to score. The timing of the declaration was important too - about an hour before tea - meaning NZ could bowl for just one hour, then rest.

  • DustBowl on March 25, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    Well done NZ - not there yet - but big Mac will ensure they don't relax Fulton - Roy of the Rovers - can there ever be two more contrasting innings? Panesar- so 2D - Warne's comment still correct - yet they didn't try Treadwell? Broad - petulant in the morning- now where does he get that from? Cook, normally a giant, fell into that bad technique from the 1st Test Both sides should learn a lot from this. We now wait for Bell to show his true metal.

  • bobbo2 on March 25, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Great stuff NZ. Really hope they get up tomorrow. Looks like thing improving and credit must go to McCullum and Hesson.

    And looks like the pitch is a cracker. Lose or draw England have no excuses. Fact is they are not as good as we all and they all thought.

    Also well done to Fulton. I didn't want him back but he proved us all that he has something to offer. With some good players to come back to the squad NZ looking good for the future.

  • SL_BiggestJoke on March 25, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    May I just remind everyone that NZ has not yet won... still a few wickets to go, so lets not do to the NZ bowlers what McCullum did to Cook & company!

  • jackiethepen on March 25, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Bell looks determined to bore opposition and crowds to death? We hope! Bell needs someone to bat with after the loss of Cook. With all the fielders around the bat why isn't someone calling for Bell to advance down the pitch? Then they can attack him for recklessness. George Dobell describes Bell as making an unlikely catch look ordinary. Bell had to somersault after running round and taking the catch on the run over his shoulder. So er - didn't look 'ordinary' but absolutely brilliant. I know what he means but it didn't look anything but extraordinary. Sky kept showing replays of it.

  • shortsillypoint on March 25, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Kane Williamson should be bowled more - he had 2 wickets in 4 overs in the last test and now 2 more. NZ fans must wait until all 10 wickets fall before we celebrate - anything can happen. Bell and Prior are the key wickets.

  • Nutcutlet on March 25, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    In NZ, England has been resting on the laurels of a hard-fought & well won campaign in India. And, back in October, if Flower & Cook had been given a choice: win in India or win in NZ, it wd have qualified as the cricketing no-brainer of the C21. But that is not how the world works. Only the most recent (or current) situation is relevant & just-past triumphs become only the heights from which you fall. This NZ side had everything to prove; Eng had (in their own private & collective mind) nothing to prove - which just shows that motivation & focus are almost everything. Slip by that vital 10% & the hungry fighter will floor the swaggering champ. India experienced the same in 2011. Is this fluctuating process inevitable? In a world that's now overstacked with internat cricket, I would suggest that only a truly great side (& SA may be just that) can manage the workload successfully. Otherwise, I think we can expect the trend to continue. We'll get used to it, but grumble as much as ever.

  • on March 25, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    NZ played well with a purpose. Congrats. They are on course and could end the winner of the Test and the Series. England's back bones under difficult conditions KP and Swaann are missing. Only Prior and dogged innings from Bell can manage a draw which is very difficult to think of.Fulton and McCullum sealed the chances of England recovery.

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @Vivekaks on (March 25, 2013, 7:34 GMT) Like the way you put "according to me" - like your post is showing a semblance of balance there. Oh and you're right re Eng playing jaded teams. So we have a test against a fresh Aus team. Fresh from a 4-0 hiding.

    @Matt Fallaize on (March 25, 2013, 8:38 GMT) I agree although I'd say Nick can come out with some credit. When he's got out early it's at least not like he's given his wicket away

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Couldn't have gone worse for England but brilliant from NZ

    Truth is NZ have made batting look a doddle whereas Eng have struggled.It's not just that Eng are 4 wickets down but more a case that 2 of the 4 are our lynchpins. Nick got a good ball early but acriticism is that at time he looks a little slow,lazy with his footwork which could be a greater worry vs the quicker bowlers like Patto - provided he retains his place. Trott's shot looked very careless and Cook will be livid although Eng probably needed some relief and if they weren't going to get it vs Boult,Southee and co. Still critical of BM for is batting too long. IMO they could have safely declared anything up to 100 runs earlier.We have no hitters 1- 5 so if we lost no wickets at the top we would not be going at a pace to force a result & if we lost wickets quick I couldnt see from Bairstow down scoring 300 runs +.Looks like NZ will get the deserved win but if Trott/Cook had seen day 4 out may have rued batting on

  • Selassie-I on March 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Fair play to NZA, they have played the better cricket all game. Can't argue with that.

    Hopefully this will boot the boys into action in the british summer now.

  • NixNixon on March 25, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    And to think the English live in a world where they believe their pace attack to be better than SA - what a joke. A watched Fulton absolutely murder the great anderson and monty! Jimmy anderson is overrated!! JImmy Anderson has posters of Dale Steyn in his room!

  • Stark62 on March 25, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Judging by the evidence presented in this series, I think it's safe to say SA are light years ahead of the rest!!

  • 64blip on March 25, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Welcome to captaining English cricket, Alistair Cook! I think the leadership has come up short this tour. I hope the lessons learnt stay with him longer than the pain, because this is going to hurt.

  • hey_homes on March 25, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    Perhaps someone would like to mention the pitch?

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Michael Vaughn should really have been worried about his own team all along, instead of slogging the aussies with his artless tweets.

  • Dirk_Diggler on March 25, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Go Kiwis, finish them off! There is still some batting to come of course. And Bell looks determined to bore opposition and crowd to death. From new Aussie fan.

  • Harlequin. on March 25, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    6 months ago, who would have thought that England would have put on big scores against spinners in India, then folded like origami against the kiwi seamers?! I am hoping it is a bit of an underperformance from England; a mixture of tiredness from the efforts in India and having their mind on the ashes rather than this series. Even so it is a wet slap in the face which should wake them up a bit before the home season.

    Taking nothing away from the Kiwi's though, great to see them standing up as a force to be reckoned with again.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Congratulations to New Zealand on outplaying England and I hope you gain a deserved victory tomorrow. Anderson needs a rest, while Broad needs to learn how to hold a bat as he seems to have forgotten... Finn's radar needs an overhaul and I suspect Monty won't be playing again anytime soon... If Swann is not available perhaps the Kent Captain James Tredwell will be given an opportunity? The very thing India could be accused of when England beat them now holds true of England in this series - overconfidence...

  • RobTay14 on March 25, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Go the Kiwis!! This team just keeps improving.

  • SirBazza on March 25, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    The only thing that can save England is the weather, and last time I looked it's going to be fine. Is this is emergence of a new New Zealand outfit? Confidence will be brewing, England are in tatters! Go NZ!!!!!!

  • SurlyCynic on March 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    A year ago England were #1 and talking about 'legacies and dynasties'. Now they are on track to lose 3 out of their last 4 series, and getting smashed around by Peter Fulton. This is what makes sport great.

    Lovely stuff.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Well that was pretty atrocious from England. Barring a miracle from one of the young lads pretty much only Prior can hold his head up after this tour. Very well played New Zealand. What I'm curious about is where the bowling consistency's gone. Despite all the caveats from those beaten on the way England's success has been built on the relentless application of line and length (apart from Broad fondly imagining himself a bouncer merchant). Even in the UAE debacle, the bowlers didn't let anyone down. We're back to the bad old days of a bowler looking a world-beater one innings, and toothless the next.

  • cricketcritic on March 25, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    A test to savour for Fulton, what a mammoth effort. I hope his efforts are rewarded with victory and a man of the series gong. Feel a bit for England, conditions and the weather haven't been with them, they'll be better at home for sure!

  • phunny_game on March 25, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    I hope we see a result tomorrow and there isnt a dab draw instead... Its high time the world takes kiwis seriously... If australia lost 4-0, english team will lose 1-0 to 8th ranked team, so honours even before the ashes...

  • Apocalypse_EX on March 25, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    The key in this series has actually been McCullum. He has beem consistant throughout the tour in every format. Hopefully he can carry on from here.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    As a Kiwi, i will wait for the six wickets to be taken tomorrow. Bell might get a ton, you never know.

  • Smahuta on March 25, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Ya Sean, was a fun to watch Fulton thrashing the poms to all parts last night hey? He was punishing all and sundry with such audacity I thought I was watvhing Matty Hayden in his pomp! Poor batting from the Nightwatchman at the end of the day thinking he was a batsman now that he got a 50. Out to a part timer, what was he thinking? Long qway back fro england to dave this series now. On another note, the ashes is going to be one dull affair with two average sides going at each other for 10 games.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @Vivekaks- what, jaded teams like Australia?

  • AMAZINGFAN on March 25, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    WHOA this was never expected,i thought eng wud beat NZ easily....but kudos to kiwis for giving tough fight to eng.....eng is not a great team and they r simply over-rated by their fans and media,they were over-confident after their series victory over depleted indian side(i'm sure eng can't win again in india).....expect aus to beat eng this ashes....cricinfo pls publish

  • AnikeBRAH on March 25, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    What a fine performance from the NZ team on this fourth day. Another brilliant innings by Peter Fulton along with a great partnership with the captain himself Mr. McCullum. A lot may have thought how the New Zealanders would be coping with the Ross Taylor controversy but Brendon has come out at top and has captained the match smartly. An explosive batsmen along with great captaincy and declaring at the right time can see New Zealand take the series. Although England still have some middle order batting left, the New Zealanders should win this as the bowling has been phenomenal. Winning this will boost their confidence by a lot and the next series against NZ should see Jesse Ryder in the mix as he is an excellent talent who can also do some part time bowling. Much to see for NZ cricket in the coming years...

  • SL_BiggestJoke on March 25, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    Is Cook still the - sorry was it before or after Bradman? - batsman in the world? Great use of psychology by McCullum.. and as expected, a little comparison, a few more peering eyes, and Cook wilted under pressure. It takes much much more to count even remotely close to the greatest batsmen of all times club!

  • on March 25, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    England probably should have come here earlier and gotten acclimatized with the conditions. Their overconfidence after beating India has again led to a slump (remember Pakistan in the UAE?) in their preparation for a series. Hopefully they lose this test and prepare well so that they have a better chance against Australia in the Ashes.

  • GrayNichollsTwinScoop on March 25, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    What a difference a decent opening partnership has made for New Zealand in these last tests, particularly the pressure it has taken off the lower order. We look like a completely different team. Perhaps the selectors can be congratulated for their decisions on picking players with domestic form behind them …. regardless of whether deserved victory is achieved tomorrow, the NZ team can be justifiably proud of their performance this english series !

  • on March 25, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Fearsome power. could hear the thi=under of those strokes ricochet around the stadium. Awesome power by 2 meter Peter, pure class - Im a saffa, but now a new fan of this awesome man. What power!!!!

  • Vivekaks on March 25, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    And the Ashes should now be interesting!! Full marks to Poms for winning the series in India...I think India were more overconfident and careless than the talent displayed by the Poms to win. But the Kiwi conditions, so similar to the one in England, seems to have done in the Poms...Poms, strictly according to me, were never a great team to have reached Number 1 ranking...it were built on strong home performances against jaded teams...and wen the proteas arrived, they were put in their place... So this was expected capitulation from the Poms and am glad it happened for they will now be less pompous when they play the ashes...for it comes in the backdrop of being beaten/streched by a team which has not won in a long time! Aussies will nail the ashes this time...no doubt...they have the bowling and if pat cummins comes into the reckoning, the likes of trott, cook and bell who feasted in Australia will scurry for cover!!! Go Aussies, put the poms in their place!!!

  • on March 25, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    smashing knock - i watched it on telly. Brutal by 2 metre Peter. Pure class, One could hear each shot ricochet around the ground with fearsome power. What a treat!!!!!

  • Mitch1066 on March 25, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Well played New Zealand you have never giving up hope and look like you get the series victory after all out played england most first test and all final test. As English fan I'm disappointed but we being out played. Only concern I have for ashes is bell form and middle order . As other then that we should be able match if not better then Aussies but I suspects as always it be tough series . I hope England gain revenge when New Zealand on our isles . But enjoy your deserved victory New Zealand .

  • StevieS on March 25, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Only a Danny Morrison like effort will save England now.

  • Mitty2 on March 25, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    The amount of arm chair critics i've read over this series bagging fulton about his technique now is so ironic. "Can't play on the off side", well, he leaves it well, grinds out the attack and waits for anything slightly straight, which would work against any attack. SA included: they showed in aus that they can bowl very expensively and all have the tendency to get impatient. The likes of bird, philander and kyle abbot with their control and nagging length are the pacers who i can see that could do well against fulton.. and two of them have only played a total of three tests. (The lack of accurate pacers is another matter).

    But still, the point remains, when a batsman has a proven FC average, he obviously has a knack for scoring runs, and yet the critics will always come out in force and tell that player to change their technique. (Ruined hughes in the '09 ashes.) I can name so many batsmen with technical flaws that are/were great; if you score runs consistently it's irrelevant.

  • pommy80 on March 25, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    A very disappointing series has nearly come to an end. All credit to NZ throughout the series, terrific performances, led by a great captain. The match still isn't over yet, Bell looked in good form with Bairstow, Root and Prior left you never know, 2 early wickets is key for NZ. A good wakeup call for the summer this series is.

  • venkatesh018 on March 25, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Like it not, KP and Cook are 90 % of England's batting. If one is injured and the other fails, then the batting is non-existent. Bairstow looks hopeless. Where is James Taylor?

  • timtom on March 25, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Way to go NZ... Nail it on Eng..

  • Staunch_for_NZ on March 25, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    just back from a hot day in the sun and a sizzling day for NZ. WE have known our skills just needed fine tuning with the little cricket we have had. South Africa was basically a depleted teams first real cricket in 6 months. This is what I saw today....every NZ fielder around the two batsmen, none out in the field the English had every fielder for McCullum on the boundary....none in at all............dominance!!

  • SameOld on March 25, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Well, well, well... Who saw this coming? Not I. NZ continuing to dominate this vaunted English side. Still in a bit of shock, personally. 0-0 or 1-1 was as much as I dared hope for at the start of the series. Great to see Baz leading from the front, seamers continuing to do well and the top order scoring. Read that again: New Zealand's top order is scoring! Scoring runs! Astounding! And what about the resurrected FrankenFulton? It's alive.... IT'S ALIVE! Mwah hah hah.... Now for a brutish first hour of the Tim & Trent Show tomorrow morning, and off to the pub by lunchtime for a celebratory beer! (Maybe a lemonade for Dan, Jesse, Doug and Jeetan)

  • TATTUs on March 25, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    Go New Zealand. Beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and now England at home. I think this batting line up is looking pretty good. Vettori coming back should add to that. I think they got the opening problem solved with Rutherford looking good. Fulton has done well, but I will wait. But at the moment this victory should be completed and that would be a good achievement for New Zealand cricket.

  • on March 25, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    Who knows what will happen tomorrow ... but you wouldn't put your money on a draw, would you?

  • NZCricketfan1 on March 25, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Well as a hard core NZ cricket fan I have had to endure the odd arrogant comment from the English fans here. That said I must I have found the Poms to be great fella's always.

    This was further reinforced at the basin recently. Now that also said some who post here have failed to see a NZ team that is on the rise. Southee Williamson Boult and McCullum (finally in his rightful place at 6) are at times world class players.

    There are others in the team Taylor being the best of them. We are small country of fighters but we also have many talented sportsman. I think we will win this one and make history.

    England have acted over confident in this series and will pay for it. I think they are a pretty over rated team. Of course they will thrash us in England (perhaps) but surely you would expect the number 2 team to be better here. Certinaly SA backed up their talk when they were here.

    Its our time this time England and for those of you who lacked grace should suck it up. :-}

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on March 25, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Yes! Incredible stuff by New Zealand. Here's hoping for a famous Kiwi win at the Eden Park. Few would've betted on New Zealand winning this series before the series began and it's great fun watching the underdog K.O. the favourite.

    From an Indian perspective, it will be great if you guys win, especially after we thrashed your trans-Tasman rivals, the Aussies 4-0. A New Zealand victory over England will mean that India overtakes England to the #2 position in the ICC Test rankings....

  • The.Pragmatist on March 25, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    I might be wrong but I thought prior to this series that England had the best bowlers of swing and the best batsmen against swing. After this series that can't be true. Conditions in New Zealand are as close as you can get to English conditions and their performances have been ordinary. With all due respect to New Zealand's pace bowlers, they are not in the same class of the Australians. With the Ashes on the horizon, England better get their act together, otherwise it could be embarrassing. The best thing going for England at the moment is the Australian batting, apart from Clarke, is a rabble and will not improve in time for the Ashes.

  • HNREDDY on March 25, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Hah the Mighty England have been brought to Earth after their heroic triumph in India. It just goes to show how much they depend on KP and Swann for their team balance and performance. It is KP and Swann with Panesar who enabled the Triumph in India. In their absence the ENGLAND is looking more like WEST INDIES.

  • yoogi on March 25, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    Its tough to play a team that is fresh from a SA series. England, after having faced SA, beat India in India. Aussies after having faced SA, beat SL. NZ, having faced SA before england, are beating England now. Obviously you improve strongly after a SA encounter, but only to doze off back to normal or being worse than ever.

  • on March 25, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    It was one of those extraordinary days in test cricket where everything the home side did came off, and absolutely nothing went the way of the visitors. Every ball seemed to come off the middle of the bat, find a gap, or fall short of despairing fieldsmen. And in the field impossibly sharp chances went to hand (how jammy was Tim Southee's grab!). Still fortune favors the brave and Fulton's assault on England was almost as impressive as Nathan Astle's one man show against them when he snagged the record for test cricket's quickest double ton. The most heartening part of this series for NZ has been the way the batters (first knock at the Basin aside) have been able to string together decent first innings totals, something they have been consistently poor at for years. Lets hope they can keep it up.

  • on March 25, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Mayn. That was some hitting by the Kiwi's. Let's see what happens tomorrow. NZ deserve the win though.

  • boehj on March 25, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Captain Cook is the best opener in the world, and the English have the best allrounder in Finn because he bowls 150km+. The 'demise' of all the other teams in the world is well documented.

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Liked this series a hell of a lot better that one in India! LOL! 4/90 is a bit deceiving in that it includes Finn, however he was an obstacle in a similar situation in the 1st Test. The loss of Cook is massive for England. They'll have to do it without him. I have often noted that I am not a fan of Bell, so this probably won't come as a surprise, but I really think his innings is putting pressure on the other batsmen. It's a bit Kallis-like in its total insulation against the team needs. Scoring hasn't been easy, but Bell needed to at least have a S/R near 40. This would of meant another 30 runs to the score & would of at least made it look like England could of been going for the win (as unlikely as that is). This is so McCullum doesn't just stack the field with catching options on Day 5. Unless Bairstow goes ballistic (Maybe Prior too), it is basically impossible to chase down 391 in 90 overs on this pitch. I think he has been way too negative - a S/R less than 9 is comatose!

  • on March 25, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    just need to get prior early and root. then victory should be ours

  • chathuradil on March 25, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Going well NZ. Boult remembers me the bowling of Vassy, where the ball seaming in late to the right handers both with the new and old ball. Also Southee is now a concern to the many batmen. Recently NZ did well in SL and getting better and better. This will definitely be a remarkable era of NZ's cricket

  • canterbury1990 on March 25, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    Shocking stuff from England today, particularly from the batsmen getting out to such unncessary shots. We have come to expect such high standards from the England test cricketers that this seems unacceptable. There's still a glimmer of hope for England in this test, if Ian Bell really digs deep and Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow can support him for the greater part of the day tomorrow, they may still achieve a great escape. Let's just hope that England's performance in this series has just been a temporary lapse, and not a foreshadowing of what's to come. In the mean time, well done to the Kiwis for a fantastic performance. They have totally outplayed England thus far.

  • moaman on March 25, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Fantastic exclamation mark added to the statement made by NZ over the previous 3 days of this Test. Not only are they footing it with the vaunted #2 side-they are dishing up a lesson! A couple of the prima donne in the England side will need to take a long,hard look in the mirror.

    For NZ fans....this series has been a real treat after the way NZ was dismantled by the South Africans.Some pride has been restored and we will all be hoping that this is the real thing and not another false dawn.

  • Munkeymomo on March 25, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Well... fair play to NZ, they've completely outplayed Englad here. The bowling has looked 1 dimensional and the batting inept. Simply put England have been bad and NZ very good, they deserve the victory. I hope the rain doesn't spoil it for them.

  • canterbury1990 on March 25, 2013, 5:32 GMT

    Shocking stuff from England today, particularly from the batsmen getting out to such unncessary shots. We have come to expect such high standards from the England test cricketers that this seems unacceptable. There's still a glimmer of hope for England in this test, if Ian Bell really digs deep and Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow can support him for the greater part of the day tomorrow, they may still achieve a great escape. Let's just hope that England's performance in this series has just been a temporary lapse, and not a foreshadowing of what's to come. In the mean time, well done to the Kiwis for a fantastic performance. They have totally outplayed England thus far.

  • on March 25, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    wow what is ian bell doing 8 runs at 89 balls he should look for some runs here theres not a lot of batting left for england

  • on March 25, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I got the impression McCullum wanted a ton before he declared. personally he should have declared after Faulton ton.(TEAM BEFORE I) their's know way England was going too chase down 400. what was he thinking, plus NZ is a rain forest, there no telling what can happened on the final day with England taking a page from F du Plessis (South Africa_Australia)

  • sandy_bangalore on March 25, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Come on NZ! All the best from India

  • satishchandar on March 25, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Terrific plannig by NZ.. Steady and assault.. While they declared, felt they could have batted 3-4 overs with Baz and Southee and look to score 40 runs in those to make it over 500.. But Baz has some traits of Fleming left in him.. In fact, all the NZ captains have the courageous attitude which is there in them even when they don't win much.. Hope the extra overs Baz intended to give to his bowlers will win him the game..

    If England are 3-4 down at end of the day, Certainly NZ upper hand.. It will be a massive escape if they go unbeaten in the game- either draw or win would be a great thing..

  • Mitty2 on March 25, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    With the customary variable bounce of drop in pitches on day 5, absolutely no chance of an england win, especially with the inexperience of bairstow and root, not to mention that history is completely against them. But of course, with suggestions of an autsralian win when we were chasing 600+, it will inevitably will happen for this innings as well.

    The pitch still looks relatively easy to bat on at the moment with the early demons of NZ's innings not evident. Martin hasn't looked as good this test as he has in the past two, but I'm still tipping to do well, southee has progressed phenomenally and has been unlucky on occasions. With cook's recent habit to do extremely well in the second England innings after not doing to do well in the first, tipping a fighting century for him, that will still be in vein: if England are 3 down by stumps, they will lose the test.

    Even if they don't lose a wicket, still unlikely for an England draw/win

  • Rally_Windies on March 25, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    WOW ..

    without Swann , England are completely useless ......

    missing 1 great bowler makes a HUGE difference ....

  • zdrgn on March 25, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    now it will be interesting to see which one of them wins in ashes. but england still remains favourite. don't forget swann is absent from this side.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on March 25, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    480 in 154 overs @3.1 RPO, stranger things have happened at sea Jonny Bairstow to hit the winning runs, but seriously more questions than answers from this series for England; nice to see NZ coming back as a test team, just wished they could have waited a bit longer :(

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 25, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    NZ have had a breathtaking sort of morning and beyond. Fulton's ton was a real tour de force with those straight and drives, with the hundrfed shot just brutal. Mc Maniac gave another treat to the spectator and really NZ have such a moral adcvantage over Eng, as to make victory a near certainty. Fortune favours the brave.There is no room for timidity and fearfulness here But did England ever think of winning this game?

  • GurSinghgur on March 25, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Has any one Test match innings included both (a) seven successive maiden overs (numbers 16 through 22 near the close on day 3) and (b) an over of 17 runs (over 46 today before lunch)? Perhaps some statistical whiz can tell us?

  • GurSinghgur on March 25, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Has any one Test match innings included both (a) seven successive maiden overs (numbers 16 through 22 near the close on day 3) and (b) an over of 17 runs (over 46 today before lunch)? Perhaps some statistical whiz can tell us?

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 25, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    NZ have had a breathtaking sort of morning and beyond. Fulton's ton was a real tour de force with those straight and drives, with the hundrfed shot just brutal. Mc Maniac gave another treat to the spectator and really NZ have such a moral adcvantage over Eng, as to make victory a near certainty. Fortune favours the brave.There is no room for timidity and fearfulness here But did England ever think of winning this game?

  • The_bowlers_Holding on March 25, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    480 in 154 overs @3.1 RPO, stranger things have happened at sea Jonny Bairstow to hit the winning runs, but seriously more questions than answers from this series for England; nice to see NZ coming back as a test team, just wished they could have waited a bit longer :(

  • zdrgn on March 25, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    now it will be interesting to see which one of them wins in ashes. but england still remains favourite. don't forget swann is absent from this side.

  • Rally_Windies on March 25, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    WOW ..

    without Swann , England are completely useless ......

    missing 1 great bowler makes a HUGE difference ....

  • Mitty2 on March 25, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    With the customary variable bounce of drop in pitches on day 5, absolutely no chance of an england win, especially with the inexperience of bairstow and root, not to mention that history is completely against them. But of course, with suggestions of an autsralian win when we were chasing 600+, it will inevitably will happen for this innings as well.

    The pitch still looks relatively easy to bat on at the moment with the early demons of NZ's innings not evident. Martin hasn't looked as good this test as he has in the past two, but I'm still tipping to do well, southee has progressed phenomenally and has been unlucky on occasions. With cook's recent habit to do extremely well in the second England innings after not doing to do well in the first, tipping a fighting century for him, that will still be in vein: if England are 3 down by stumps, they will lose the test.

    Even if they don't lose a wicket, still unlikely for an England draw/win

  • satishchandar on March 25, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Terrific plannig by NZ.. Steady and assault.. While they declared, felt they could have batted 3-4 overs with Baz and Southee and look to score 40 runs in those to make it over 500.. But Baz has some traits of Fleming left in him.. In fact, all the NZ captains have the courageous attitude which is there in them even when they don't win much.. Hope the extra overs Baz intended to give to his bowlers will win him the game..

    If England are 3-4 down at end of the day, Certainly NZ upper hand.. It will be a massive escape if they go unbeaten in the game- either draw or win would be a great thing..

  • sandy_bangalore on March 25, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Come on NZ! All the best from India

  • on March 25, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    I got the impression McCullum wanted a ton before he declared. personally he should have declared after Faulton ton.(TEAM BEFORE I) their's know way England was going too chase down 400. what was he thinking, plus NZ is a rain forest, there no telling what can happened on the final day with England taking a page from F du Plessis (South Africa_Australia)

  • on March 25, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    wow what is ian bell doing 8 runs at 89 balls he should look for some runs here theres not a lot of batting left for england