Losing two wickets late in the day was not a disaster for England but they would need to work hard to slowly overhaul New Zealand’s first innings of 443 on the third day of the series deciding third test, fast bowler Steven Finn said.
England were reduced to 50 for two at the end of the second day of the match at EdenPark, a deficit of 393, having bowled the hosts out just after tea.
Trent Boult, however, rocked England with the dismissal of Alastair Cook for four and Jonathan Trott for 27 before stumps, giving the hosts the slight advantage on a pitch that is not assisting the bowlers.
“Obviously we’d have preferred to go into this evening none down. To lose two wickets is maybe slightly disappointing, but I don’t think it’s a disaster by any stretch of the imagination,” said Finn, who ran through New Zealand’s tail and finished with figures of six for 125.
“We knew it was going to be a tricky period of play for us.
“We’re going to have to come back tomorrow with the two batsmen who are in and those behind them, and we’re going to have to work very hard to fight to get ourselves into a good position in the game.”
England had come into the test series as heavily touted favourites to clinch it with ease but placid pitches and rain ensured the first two matches in Dunedin and Wellington ended in draws.
They now face a third day at Eden Park looking to at least bat all day with a lineup that does not include world class batsmen Kevin Pietersen, who injured his knee and returned home, and two players in Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow still in the infancy of their test careers.
Root has struggled throughout the test series so far, while Bairstow has not played an innings of first class cricket since the second test against India in Mumbai last November.
Finn, however, had faith in his team mates to step up should New Zealand break the combination of Nick Compton (12) and Ian Bell (six) early on Sunday.
“Those guys have played some very important innings for England over the last 12 months since they’ve been playing,” Finn said.
“It’s great for them to have an opportunity to go out there and test themselves in this environment, because there’s no better place to learn than out there in the test arena.
“We can’t look too far ahead, we’re not going to be looking at run rates or we’re not going to be looking at a score we think is respectable at the moment, we’re just going to have to get our heads down and bat and see where we are in the game at different intervals.”