Hello and welcome to coverage of the final day’s play in this two-Test series. It could (and I really, truly hope it turns out to) be a rather interesting day’s cricket. But it almost certainly won’t.
When England reduced the hosts to 28 for two late in yesterday’s evening session it looked as though there might be a rather hefty glimmer of hope for Joe Root and his side. A meaty slice of hope. But then Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor bedded in.
That left New Zealand 96 for two overnight, which is a deficit of five runs. England will be desperate for early wickets today. Indeed, it is their only chance of victory. There are three problems though:
The first of those is the pitch. It has taken quite some time for 24 wickets to fall in this match, so the chance of England’s quicks suddenly rattling through the New Zealand middle and lower order is not great.
Second is the quality of the batsmen they are up against – a group who know all they must do is survive the day and that will ensure a 1-0 victory in this series.
And third – and most worryingly for a live blogger in vital need of some action to keep him awake through the early hours of the morning – is the forecast. It’s not good. Our man at the ground Scyld Berry thinks we will see play until lunch time and then the rain will start falling, which could bring a hasty conclusion to proceedings.
So all in all, it doesn’t look great for prospects of a result. But you never know. If England can take three or four wickets in the first hour I’d suggest you delay bedtime. If not… I’m going to struggle to give you much to stay awake for. Play begins in half an hour.