Lord’s could not have been a quarter full this morning which was a shame because the stay-aways missed an excellent session for England, who made serious inroads into the Kiwis top order.
Aaron Redmond was the first to go, in the sixth over of the morning, pushing forward to a good length ball, which he only succeeded in edging to first slip where Andrew Strauss took the catch and the opener departed having made 17. By that time New Zealand had just wiped out the 42-run first innings deficit.
James Marshall followed three overs later without having got off the mark, trapped lbw by a ball from left arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom that swung back into him, evading his forward push.
There then followed some Monty magic as left arm spinner Panesar, from the Nursery End, caught Ross Taylor full on the left ankle to have the batsman lbw and pick up England’s third, and his first, wicket of the innings in his first over of the day.
But things did not go all England’s way. Stuart Broad looked to have accounted for Jamie How when the New Zealand opener was just shy of his half century. How drove at a good length ball that left him a fraction and edged to first slip.
On this occasion Strauss inexplicably spilled a straightforward chance and shortly afterwards How, who had been on 46 at that point, sliced the same bowler to the third man boundary for the seventh four of his innings to bring up the second fifty of his test career in this his tenth match.
Brendon McCullum and How then carefully steered New Zealand to lunch with a lead of 71 runs.