Cricket-England stretch lead, top order woe remains

March 1 Fri Mar 1, 2013 7:47am GMT

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March 1 (Reuters) - England's top order blew a second chance to spend some quality time in the middle but the tourists still went on to cement their lead on the penultimate day of their four-day match against New Zealand XI in Queenstown on Friday.

Opener Nick Compton (one) and Kevin Pietersen (eight) once again failed with the bat, while Jonathan Trott (20) was berating himself on his way back to the pavilion after failing to convert the start into something substantial.

Captain Alastair Cook (24), who hit 60 in the first innings, was run out, leaving it to Matt Prior (68) and Graeme Swann (41 not out) down the order to power the visitors to 256 for nine for an overall lead of 333 runs by third day's play.

For New Zealand XI, Mark Gillespie claimed four for 87.

England's bowling did not look too convincing either when New Zealand XI captain Tom Latham made an aggressive pre-lunch declaration at 349 for seven.

Graham Onions struggled for rhythm, sending down five of his six no-balls while bleeding 131 runs for the only wicket of Canterbury all-rounder Corey Anderson, who hit an entertaining 62-ball 67 batting at number eight.

Stuart Broad conceded 27 runs in his five overs without adding to his previous day's success.

New Zealand test wicketkeeper BJ Watling was unbeaten on 66 and returned after the declaration to take four catches behind the stumps.

The four-day match is the only warm-up England will have before their three-match series against New Zealand begins at Dunedin's University Oval on Wednesday. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Patrick Johnston)

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