England's Joe Root and Matthew Potts set up tantalising final day against New Zealand

Trent Bridge Test match delicately poised after home team fight back against the world Test champions

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These remain early days in the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum revolution of English cricket.

The Trent Bridge Test match might yet end in a draw, or even defeat.

Catches still get dropped. No balls still get bowled.

And yet the groundswell of positivity around England’s new dawn continues to gather pace, after a thrilling fourth day in the second Test against New Zealand.

Everyone, it appears, is being swept up in the feeling of goodwill. In the evening session, with the hosts picking away at New Zealand and the game suddenly pregnant with possibilities, the ground’s authorities announced that admission to Tuesday’s final day would be free.

A workday it may be, but given the state of the game, there may be a rush on the box office.

New Zealand will start on 224 with just three wickets remaining in their second innings. That gives them a lead of 238 – handy enough, but far more precarious than they might have expected when they amassed 553 in their first innings.

With a forecast of no more than a 10 per cent chance of rain for Nottingham on Tuesday, the chances of a tantalising final day’s play are high.

England’s positive intent with the bat – they made 539 at 4.2 per over in their first innings – meant they could still force a result if they bowled well on Day 4.

They did so. Matthew Potts, playing just his second match for England, was the pick. The 23-year-old pace bowler took two for 32.

But England also profited from mistakes by their visitors. Daryl Mitchell’s princely form with the bat continues for New Zealand, but his running between the wickets was questionable twice.

He was involved in run outs of both Will Young, the opener, and tailender Tim Southee.

Mitchell – who did, it should not be forgotten, make 190 in the first innings – still has the chance to rectify those blemishes. He will be not out on 32 when New Zealand begin the final day.

In the opening session of the day, Joe Root had cut a mortified figure when he drove a catch to Southee off a Trent Boult slower ball.

From the disconsolate way he trudged off, it was basically impossible to tell he had 176 runs to his name. Dismissal at that point, though, ruined all the fun he was having.

Southee, for one, would have been delighted to see the back of the former England captain. It had been him who had suffered most vividly on a morning of frivolity.

In the first over Southee sent down to Root, the England man played an extraordinary reverse ramp for six. It was a shot which belonged more to the limited overs game, rather than Tests.

It was typical of England's game plan: in a little over 14 overs in the morning, the home side plundered 66 runs, with Ben Foakes making a breezy half century.

In that space of time, though, they also gave up their final five wickets, surrendering a 14-run advantage to the tourists in the process.

Although the going has been tough for the bowlers in the Test so far, at least Boult was afforded some joy. New Zealand’s left-arm quick picked up the 10th five-wicket haul of his Test career.

Other than that, the touring fast bowlers toiled. Southee was taken for 154 runs, which worked out at 4.81 for each of the 32 overs he sent down.

To add injury to insult, Kyle Jamieson was kept out of play altogether. The towering fast bowler had to have an MRI scan on his lower back after experiencing pain while bowling in the final session of Day 3.

Updated: June 13, 2022, 6:11 PM
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