London, June 5 (Ajit Weekly News) Former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton believe the Ben Stokes-led side have a slight advantage over New Zealand ahead of day four of the first Test as the hosts will begin the day playing against an old ball. England are at 216/5 and need just 61 runs on day four to win the match at Lord’s, with the new ball 15 overs away.
“It goes one way then it goes the other. The past two days have been a similar pattern, once that ball goes soft then the middle order and the lower order can survive. It has been a new-ball pitch and both sides have been struggling with that new ball. Once Stokes went, sometimes you think I have got to be here, I have got to be here tomorrow, I am arguably the best Test match batsman in the world at the moment, I will dig in,” said Hussain on Sky Sports.
With Joe Root unbeaten at 77 and involved in an unbroken 57-run stand with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes (nine not out), England can feel optimistic about their chances of hunting down 277 as the second new ball will be taken 15 overs later. It has been seen in the Lord’s Test that as the ball gets older and softer, it makes life easy for lower-order batters to adapt and get runs.
“Root said I have got tiring bowlers, an old ball, they have changed it and this one isn’t doing it. Right until his last ball, he got a bouncer and he still pulled that away. I thought Root was very game aware. I would rather be in England’s camp because of the old ball, but New Zealand have shown us they will be there fighting hard until that very last run but I would just rather be in that England camp,” added Hussain.
Atherton too, agreed with Hussain’s views on England having advantage over New Zealand due to starting against old ball. “Runs have not come easily in this game, have they? We hadn’t seen a half-century until Tom Blundell scored one yesterday and Daryl Mitchell followed suit. Gradually, it seems as though the conditions have slightly eased because we have had another one from Ben Stokes and from Joe Root but it is still a nip and tuck game because of that England tail.
“Matt Potts is in next then (Stuart) Broad, (James) Anderson, (Matt) Parkinson. So whilst I think England have got their noses in front, New Zealand will go to bed knowing that if they get an early wicket tomorrow they are still very much in the game. New Zealand’s bowlers will come out refreshed but they are still a significant way away from that new ball and that is to England’s advantage.”
–Ajit Weekly News