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Millennium Post

Poms 'need a hero' as Blackcaps tighten grip

Auckland: The fall of Joe Root's wicket on the last ball of day four on Sunday left England calling for a hero to salvage a draw in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland.
England's position at 132 for three, 237 in arrears, revived memories of the cliffhanger Test the last time the sides clashed here in Auckland five years ago, when the match went down to the final ball.
On that day in 2013 at Eden Park England started 390 behind with only six wickets remaining, but batted the whole day and survived the final three overs with nine wickets down to claim a nail-biting draw.
With Root out to a fired up Trent Boult late Sunday, England go into this final day with seven wickets available to avoid an innings defeat.
At stumps England were 132 for three after Root departed for 51 and Mark Stoneman was out for 55.
Alastair Cook went early for two while Dawid Malan was not out 19.
"We'll need a hero," fast bowler Stuart Broad said at close of play.
"Five years ago Matt Prior was the hero with 100 and someone's got that chance tomorrow.
"It was a real shame to lose Joe on the last ball of the day, we all felt that after he played so brilliantly for his 50. But it proves there's runs to be had out there."
Root had just suffered a painful blow to the index finger of his right hand, and on the next ball edged Boult to be caught behind.
Broad had sympathy for his skipper, but as a bowler who took three for 78 when New Zealand batted, he also expressed respect for Boult's skill.
"You've got to credit the bowler sometimes. A good bouncer to wrap a batter on the finger then a good follow-up, well bowled," he said, but added that England were still in the match.
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