Anderson injury takes shine off England's day
Wellington: day three of second Test - I watched James Anderson emerge from the dressing room after the day's play and take part in a football game with most of the England squad - including the coach Peter Moores - as a warm-down exercise.
He then turned his ankle and left the ground on crutches.
It is hoped that he will be fit to bowl in New Zealand's second innings, but it beggars belief that one of only four bowlers should be playing football during a Test match, and this is clearly a matter that the coach must explain.
On the field it wasn’t pretty, but unlike some critics, I support the way England went about their business - until the Anderson incident at the end, of course.
They simply had to make sure they were in this position with two days to go – and they have done it. They now have runs on the board and plenty of time in which to bowl New Zealand out to level the series.
It is easy to say they should have been more positive.
Of course the Australians would probably have been more bullish in piling up the runs and, possibly, have been able to declare with a few overs to go in the day. But England are not Australia, and they desperately need a morale-booster. That should happen over the next two days, as long as their bowling is up to strength.
Of course it was a shame for a rare full house here that the cricket should have been painstaking. But Test cricket is often played that way as a team manoeuvres itself into position.
It is always a problem when only one team is really in the game, and New Zealand’s only chance of competing was when Alistair Cook and Andrew Strauss fell in successive overs after a stand of 106.
Kevin Pietersen looked to be getting himself set for a much-needed big score before he was unluckily run out backing up when Ian Bell’s drive was deflected into the stumps by the bowler.
Had Paul Collingwood been caught on nought, New Zealand might have shortened their time in the field.
But England’s lead was always too much and, with concentration and patience, they have set up their best hope of a victory – and how England’s supporters wanted that after the humiliation in Hamilton.
There was a fantastic crowd revelling in beautiful late summer sunshine and lovely surroundings.
The way Test cricket is staged in New Zealand might be considered to be a throw back, but I hope that other countries that struggle to attract big crowds are watching, and will follow suit.