BUMBLE ON THE TEST: The partnership Pope and Root lit up day three

BUMBLE ON THE TEST: This game has been crying out for quality spin… and the drinks break proves dangerous again with Alex Lees and Ollie Pope both losing their wickets shortly after

  • England are now just 80 runs behind  New Zealand’s first-innings total of 553 
  • The partnership between Ollie Pope and Joe Root was exhilarating on day three 
  • Breaks during the game can be dangerous as some players become sloppy
  • Jack Leach is looking rusty as he has not been playing enough cricket 

England fared much better on day three of the second Test match against New Zealand and they are now just just 80 runs behind the Black Caps’ first-innings total of 553 with five wickets remaining

Joe Root and Ollie Pope both dominated as they hit hundreds as England closed in on Sunday. 

Here, Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD picks out his talking points from Trent Bridge…

England cut New Zealand’s deficit to 80 runs during day three of the of the Second Test Match

CRYING OUT FOR SPIN

It was an exhilarating partnership between Ollie Pope and Joe Root on a perfect batting strip. All New Zealand could do was change the bowling — the seam bowling, that is. This game has been crying out for quality spin to bring out the nuances of Test cricket. Either New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi or England’s Matt Parkinson could have added something to the contest.  

Ollie Pope (right) and Joe Root (left) helped themselves to a pair of outstanding centuries

BREAK TIME IS SO DANGEROUS

How many times do we see it? A batsman is playing fluently, then along comes a break in play. It’s up to the batsman to switch on again. Alex Lees was batting like a millionaire, then he played a sloppy shot straight after a drinks break and he’s out. Ollie Pope spends five minutes changing his pads, before picking out fine leg next ball. Concentration is huge in Test cricket. 

Alex Lees was batting like a millionaire, then he played a sloppy shot straight after a break

LUCKY I’M NO SLOW COACH  

I am a stickler for time. I set off early yesterday for the ground, only to find I’d got the dog cages in the boot. Vipers needed them, so I had to turn round and take them back. I’ll say it myself, I’ve got quite a quick car and I put my foot down. Not a lot got past me, other than the odd National Express coach and an Eddie Stobart wagon. It pays to have some oomph under the bonnet. 

LEACH LOOKING RUSTY

What are England going to do with Jack Leach? If the pitch isn’t offering turn to the spinner, he has to be able to control the game, a role that Ashley Giles did splendidly. But Leach is always offering boundary balls. In the first innings he went at four an over. The reason? He doesn’t play enough cricket. 

Jake Leach (right) has been ineffective and it’s because he has not been playing enough cricket

ALSO USING COVERS… 

As I’m now living in north Yorkshire, I’ve acquainted myself with all the ancient customs. How about the Knaresborough bed race, which took place yesterday. A gruelling 2.4-mile circuit ends with a dip in the freezing River Nidd, though this year there is no water in it. But what a sight! They should make it an Olympic sport. 

WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS 

As I walked to the ground, I passed a busy place called Hooters. Since it was so close to Nottingham station, I assumed it was a railway enthusiasts’ museum. I’m a sucker for steam trains myself, so imagine my surprise when I popped in and found no mention of Mallard or the Flying Scotsman… 

CONEY’S KIWI CHARM 

It’s always good to tune in to the former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney on the radio. He’s erudite, perceptive, gentle and forward-thinking. He has a real charm. And it goes without saying he is a man of cricket. He could appear to be quite eccentric as a player but don’t be fooled… he knew exactly what he was up to. 




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