The Hamilton Test takes an interesting turn on day 3 as Joe Root and Rory Burns completed individual milestones and took England to a much better position. Root needs to carry on with the flow on day 4 whereas New Zealand should focus on taking the remaining wickets at the earliest.
Root and Burns added a 177-run partnership to bring stability to the England batting and ensured there was no further downfall. Burns left immediately after scoring 101 but Root continued. He along with Ben Stokes (26) kept the mission on for England. The day ended with Joe Root (114) and Ollie Pope (4) unbeaten on the crease to assure a peaceful night for the hosts.
For Root, this century was an important one. This was the perfect opportunity for the skipper to shut all critics with a fitting reply. With 24/2 England needed a captainsque innings from him to reduce the gap with the score set by New Zealand in their first innings. The initial job has been done. Now Root must stay there and build another partnership with Pope to overcome the deficit and take a good lead.
For New Zealand, Tim Southee took two major wickets and Mitchell Santer ended as the most economical bowler. But Root and Burns were successful to frustrate them. Dismissing Root will not be an easy task tomorrow, which can be the turning point for New Zealand. The newcomer Pope is a bright name in the Kiwi cricket now. He has to lead the lower order if Root gets dismissed in the first session of day 4. That will be a tricky mind game!
Tim Southee (New Zealand)- Since Trent Boult is not playing this match, Southee is the key bowler for the Kiwis. By scalping two wickets he is already the highlight of New Zealand bowling. Early breakthroughs by Southee on day 4 could make things better for his team.
Joe Root (England)- The experienced batsman and skipper is in the middle with a century to his name already. Root is the key player who can guide Pope and manage a good lead for England. A big hundred or maybe a double can help his team to square the series.
England 269/5 (Joe Root 114*, Rory Burns 101; Tim Southee 2/63) trail New Zealand 375 (Tom Latham 105, Daryl Mitchell 73; Stuart Broad 4/73) by 106 runs
England all set to take a good lead.