Andrew Strauss returned back to form in a magnificent fashion at the McLean Park in Napier through a big hundred. Strauss remained unconquered at stumps on the third day on 173 which is his first hundred in 23 innings. The southpaw’s last hundred was back in 2006 against India! Ian Bell also scored a hundred as England batted the Kiwis out of the Test and also the Series with a huge second innings lead of 501!
Two complete days of cricket are left in this third test match and unless there is a big thunderstorm, New Zealand may not be able to escape a series defeat. The English batsmen complemented yesterday’s brilliant efforts of Ryan Sidebottom with a professional approach which brought them 325 runs at the loss of just three wickets. Kevin Pietersen, the overnight batsman had missed out in getting a big one as he was the first to be dismissed this morning. He made 34 in this innings, but he had already done his job in the first innings scoring 129 which has now become a match winning century.
New Zealand were kept down by a huge partnership of 187 between Strauss and Bell. The 25-year-old Bell eventually had to return back to the pavilion but not before reaching his 7th hundred. The right hander made 110 (from 167 balls with 17 fours and 2 sixes). Vettori later went onto take his third wicket removing Paul Collingwood, who made a quick 22 from 19 with 2 fours and a six. At stumps, England are at the top of Mount Everest at 416 for 5. Their run rate in this series might have been very low, but this time they got their runs at a healthy rate of 3.40. Strauss is still there on 173 from 337 balls with 25 hits to the ropes. Giving him company is wicket keeper Tim Ambrose on 28.
The tourists may stretch their second innings a little further during the fourth day in order to allow Strauss to a double century. New Zealand will be looking for some consolation in Stephen Fleming ending his international career with a memorable knock.