New Zealanders 363 (Redmond 121, Wigley 5-78) and 38 for 3 lead Northamptonshire 214 for 9 dec (Louw 82, O'Brien 60, Southee 5-42) by 187 runs
Tim Southee made a strong case for a recall ahead of the final Test with 5 for 42 on the second day against Northamptonshire, but it didn't all go the New Zealanders' way at Wantage Road. The home side declared having squeaked past the follow-on, then David Wigley took three late wickets to set up an interesting final day.
Peter Fulton and Aaron Redmond both spent time in the middle in the first innings, but James Marshall fell to the final ball of the day and will now face a nervous wait to see if he keeps hold of his No. 3 spot for Trent Bridge. For Southee, the challenge is all about getting back into the side and he did his chances no harm by taking out the Northamptonshire top order. He retuned later in the day to claim his five-wicket haul after Johann Louw offered some thumping resistance with 82.
Southee was left out at Old Trafford - partly due to a stomach bug - in favour of Iain O'Brien, who was the pick of New Zealand's seamers in the second Test, but Trent Bridge is a venue associated with swing so Southee will come back into the reckoning. His early spell was too much for Northamptonshire, as Stephen Peters edged one which followed him and Alex Wakely, another recent Under-19 international, left one that clipped off stump.
Kyle Mills also picked a good moment to collect a useful three wickets because the feeling is that one of him, Southee or O'Brien is likely to miss out next week. Mills' first wicket was Niall O'Brien, who had weathered the early Southee storm to register a half-century. Louw showed his all-round credentials, following his 3 for 42 with a boundary-filled 90-ball 82, launching a succession of sixes against Redmond and Jeetan Patel.
Richard Logan became Southee's fifth wicket and when Jason Brown hit a boundary off his second delivery Peters, the Northamptonshire captain, called his team in to open up the game for a final-day run chase. However, after their top-order wobble New Zealand's first concern will to avoid being bowled out cheaply on the final morning.
They added a further 34 runs to their overnight total in the morning session, mainly through Southee and Patel, before Wigley claimed the final wicket to finish with 5 for 78, narrowly missing out on a career-best. It was an impressive recovery after his wayward early bursts on the opening day and his productive match continued in the final session.
N Zealanders vs Northants
New Zealand tour of England and Scotland