There’s a cyclical argument in English cricket that goes roughly like this: Test matches need to please spectators not suits, so require sporting tracks with something in them for everyone; but also, Test matches need to be testing, played on flat tracks that last four or more days, offering help only to the best bowlers. And either way, whenever things are slightly out of whack, it’s the fault of the county game.
So far, the Trent Bridge pitch has strayed towards the latter aspect, the combination of little movement and hurtling outfield the reason that, after three days, we’ve yet to complete our first innings. However, there’s still time: last evening, we saw signs of crumble and turn – as Thom Yorke nearly sung – that mean a positive result is still possible.
If England can bat most of the day, score extremely quickly or both, they’ll leave New Zealand a nasty last day to survive for draw. But to win, they’ll need some help from the pitch – and from the county game’s Jack Leach. Here we go!
Play: 11am BST