New Zealand up the ante at Lord’s as England face a challenging target


England’s batsmen look set for a challenging afternoon to save the first Test after their New Zealand counterparts upped the ante on the final morning to increase their lead to 272 at Lord’s.

New Zealand started the last day, where 98 overs are scheduled to be bowled, 165 ahead and, with eight wickets in hand, plenty in reserve to push for a victory that would have seemed unlikely following Friday’s washout.

Ross Taylor clubbed two sixes in an entertaining 33 from 35 balls while there were also cameos from Tom Latham (36) and Henry Nicholls (23) as the Black Caps went to an early lunch because of rain on 169 for six.

New Zealand are likely to declare at some point this afternoon to leave England the probability of batting to save the Test.

Ollie Robinson made an early breakthrough when nightwatchman Neil Wagner pulled a bouncer straight up in the air, with James Bracey taking a steepler, as the England seamer collected his third wicket of the innings.

Stuart Broad has had a luckless run in this Test and saw Zak Crawley spill a tough chance diving to his right at midwicket to reprieve Latham, on 32 at the time. However, he added just four more runs to his total before Broad pinned the opening batsman in front, ending a run of five successive innings without a wicket.

Taylor deposited Robinson into the stands over midwicket before a streakier outside edge flew over the third man boundary for another six. It was an adventurous innings from Taylor, who played several misses and should have been out when Anderson located his pads, but England were out of reviews.

But it would not prove too costly as, in the next over, Wood leapt wide of the crease and found a bit of movement, tempting Taylor into a drive, with a thick outside edge well taken by Bracey, diving to his right.

There was some rain in the air when Nicholls gloved an attempted reverse sweep off Root, with Rory Burns diving forward to take an excellent catch at slip, before another shower led to the players being hauled off 15 minutes before the scheduled interval.