Innings: New Zealand 427 for 8 dec. (Nicholls 145*, Williamson 102) lead England 58 by 369 runs
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In entirely different overhead conditions to the previous two days, Henry Nicholls displayed the same admirable patience and diligence to reach his second Test century, helping New Zealand declare with a first-innings advantage of 369 runs. The declaration, determined by time and not runs, came an hour into the second session, with Nicholls unbeaten on 145, his highest first-class score.
The leg side was particularly productive for Nicholls, as he forced the bowlers to err in his areas by repeatedly leaving balls outside his off stump. He scored 67 of his first 100 runs in the leg side, 30 of which came in the midwicket region.
Against James Anderson and Stuart Broad, generating significant lateral movement, Nicholls and BJ Watling began cautiously. Watling had added 13 to his overnight score, before wafting at a wide delivery from Broad in an attempt to increase the rate of scoring. A thin edge was easily accepted by the keeper.
Colin de Grandhomme helped New Zealand propel their scoring rate with a lively 39-ball 29, an innings that featured five fours and a six. There were the usual spanking drives, the disdainful pulls and the discernibly late cuts, both sides of point. He added 49 with Nicholls as New Zealand’s lead crossed 250, but the partnership could have been broken a lot earlier. In the 111th over, de Grandhomme insde-edged Chris Woakes into Jonny Bairstow’s gloves but umpire Bruce Oxenford ruled it not out and England did not have any reviews to challenge the on-field decision.
Todd Astle scored 18 runs, with three fours, before he chopped on off Broad. Tim Southee chipped in with 25 in an eighth-wicket partnership worth 72 with Nicholls. In total, New Zealand added 204 runs off 46 overs on the fourth day, as they assumed complete control of the Auckland Test.
Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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