17 May 2015

NZ XI match evenly poised

10:58 am on 17 May 2015

The New Zealand XI cricketers are 89 for 2 with a lead of 59 runs at stumps on day three of their four-day warm-up match against Worcestershire in England.

The Black Caps batsman Martin Guptill during the Cricket World Cup.

The Black Caps batsman Martin Guptill during the Cricket World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The New Zealanders owned the first session with a dominant bowling performance, led by Neil Wagner (2-17), Matt Henry (2-71) and Doug Bracewell (2-47), to have the hosts 143-6 at lunch.

In the afternoon, Worcestershire, courtesy of Ross Whiteley (103*), Ben Cox (35) and Ed Barnard (26*), fought back valiantly to claim a First Innings lead of 30 runs when they declared at 291-7 to the delight of their home fans.

In reply, Martin Guptill (61*) helped restore the New Zealand XI's advantage to 59 runs with eight wickets in hand as the visitors batted for 26 overs to close out the day's play.

Tom Latham (3) and Hamish Rutherford (8) were the wickets to fall this evening. Latham was caught at leg slip by Tom Fell from the bowling of Jack Shantry in the 11th over.

Rutherford, meanwhile, was undone in the 18th over by Moeen Ali's first ball that pitched on middle and leg and spun to hit the top of off stump.

At the start of the day, the visitors came out firing in the warm and fine conditions.

The New Zealand XI made early inroads into the Worcestershire batting line up with Neil Wagner and Matt Henry dynamic from the first ball.

Wagner removed Moeen Ali in his opening over of the morning when the England international chipped to square leg and Bracewell took a fine sprawling catch.

Henry, who arrived only two days before the match, picked up his first wicket of the tour when got the edge of Tom Fell (0) and then shortly after he bowled Alex Gidman (5).

Bracewell, who featured with 43 with the bat in a 70 run ninth wicket partnership with Wagner, got his first wicket of the match when he drew the edge from Daryl Mitchell and Guptill took a superb catch at third slip.

Corey Anderson, who returned from the IPL ahead of this match, his first appearance of the tour and finished with figures of 0-38 from eight overs.

Ben Wheeler joined in when he bowled Alexie Kervezee (33) and Worcestershire was 143-6 at lunch. The New Zealand XI reflected on a fine morning's work, but the break proved to be a turning point.

Following the interval, the home side began brightly with Whiteley and Cox combining for a 70 run partnership while the New Zealand captain BJ Watling mixed it up and offered opportunities to rookies Wheeler, Jacob Duffy and Mitchell Santner with the ball.

Almost 30 overs after they came together, Cox was dismissed by Bracewell with Jacob Duffy taking the catch at extra cover.

Whiteley carried on unperturbed and received good support from Barnard. He came close to bringing up his century before Tea, at 96, and brought up the milestone from 116 balls with a fine shot through midwicket.

The opening day of this fixture was washed out by heavy rain which reduced it to a three day match.

It is not a first class game so the full squads can be interchanged throughout the match.