England may well have squandered the psychological edge they held over New Zealand, but they have played themselves into an incredibly strong position at the close of play on Day Three.
After dominating New Zealand in the afternoon session, skittling them out for 174, thanks to four wickets from Graeme Swann and three from Steven Finn, many expected England to enforce the follow on and have another crack at their opposition’s fragile looking batting line up.
However Alastair Cook opted to bat again and ensure his side had absolutely no chance of losing the Test, although given the fact that only three sides in the entire history of cricket have lost games after enforcing the follow on, this was perhaps a little negative.
Some thought that England batted again in order to give their top order some more time in the middle, in particular Nick Compton who has looked very out of sorts in this series.
However if this was the idea, then it was not a success, as Compton made just 7 in a torturous 45-ball knock with any semblance of form seeming to desert him.
The new man in, Jonathan Trott, barely scored at a faster rate but crucially seemed comfortable if uninspiring at the crease as England’s run rate crawled along in the extended evening session.
Among all of this however Cook batted excellently, picking up 88 of England’s 116 runs and looking fairly untroubled in the process.
He will resume tomorrow with high hopes of completing his 25th Test match hundred and perhaps even wrapping up this match and the series.