Angus Fraser: England struggle to avoid follow-on

England saved the follow-on on the third afternoon, passing 270 when a forceful back foot shot from Paul Collingwood rolled to the extra cover boundary for four, but they will need to be at their best over the final two days of the first Test if they are to avoid defeat to an excellent New Zealand side. Collingwood and Tim Ambrose, on debut, remained unbeaten at the end of an absorbing day of Test cricket as England crawled to 286-6, still 184 runs shy of the Black Caps imposing first innings total of 470.

The highlight of the day was the intriguing battle between England's naturally aggressive middle-order and the New Zealand spinners. Unresponsive modern pitches have made the life of a conventional finger spinner pretty miserable but it was a joy to watch Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel whirl away for over after over in tandem, dictating terms to batsmen who relish striking the ball to the boundary.

The pair bowled beautifully, rendering Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood virtually shotless for lengthy periods of the day. Pietersen is as powerful and free-scoring a batsman as there is in world cricket, yet he only managed to score 26 runs between lunch and tea. He hit the third ball he faced for six but it took him a further 91 balls to find the boundary again.

Pietsersen can rarely have been made to work as hard for runs in his career and he looked devastated when, on 42, a defensive push flew of his pad then bat back to the bowlers left. A right-handed person may not have caught it but Vettori, the bowler, scooped it up beautifully low and to his left.

Pietersen, as is usually the case, was the wicket England's opponents wanted most and as he made his way pack to the pavilion the Black Caps would have fancied their chances of bowling England out before the close. But Collingwood and Ambrose held firm, scoring 41 and 23 respectively. The pair will need to remain at the crease for some time on the fourth day if England are to avoid a nervy finish.

New Zealand's bowlers showed England just what could be achieved with discipline and hard work; something Michael Vaughan would have been aware of as he scratched around for runs in the morning session. The England captain received very few loose deliveries and reached his 15th Test fifty via an outside edge to the third man boundary. Thirty six runs were added in the first hour and New Zealand's control was rewarded when Vaughan misjudged a Patel delivery and edged a catch through to the wicket-keeper.

Andrew Strauss and Chris Martin, New Zealand's opening bowler, are not the best of friends - the pair had a public verbal exchange in January after the England batsman suggested that the Black Caps would be a weaker side without Shane Bond. Martin took exception to the remarks, accusing Strauss of being arrogant and mouthy, and he greeted him at the crease with a couple of bouncers, the first of which hit the batsman on the chest. It did not take long before Strauss looked to take on the short ball and his first boundary came when he pulled Martin for four.

Strauss grew in confidence as the session wore on but rarely can he have faced spin so early in an innings. In the build up to the Test the former opener said that he did not believe batting at three would be too different to opening. But it is and, initially, it was apparent as he struggled to come to terms with Vettori.

And it was Vettori who dismissed him with the third ball after the interval. Left handed batsmen constantly have to face spinners who toss the ball in to the bowlers foot-holes and Strauss was bowled driving at a ball that spun sharply between his bat and pad.

Ina Bell showed no affect from the nasty blow he received to his right hand on the first day but he too could not come to terms with the accurate bowling that was being sent his way. The ironic thing about Bell's dismissal was that he just seemed to be finding his timing when Kyle Mills nipped the second new ball back through his guard and clipped off stump.

In total 56 runs were added for the loss of two wickets in the 31 overs between lunch and tea, figures that highlight New Zealand's dominance. Collingwood would have been dismissed prior to Pietersen had Brendon McCullum held on to a difficult stumping chance of the bowling of Patel. But he survived, assisted Ambrose to score his first Test runs, much to the joy of his parents sat in the sun on a grassy bank, and much will be required from England's most combative cricketer when the teams square up tomorrow morning.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine