England captain Joe Root still believes his side has a chance of claiming a unlikely test victory over the Black Caps.

Leading by five runs, but still needing to get eight wickets – and then bat again to chase down the theoretical New Zealand target – means the odds are against England, especially when considering that rain is predicted to lash the ground early in the afternoon.

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Having reduced the Black Caps to 28-2 with 25 overs left in the day, England had their opportunity, but Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor added an unbeaten 68 to see off the brief scare.


However, Root believes if his side can just snare the accomplished duo early tomorrow morning, then they could pull off the improbable.

"They're two experienced players who you expect a bit of rearguard from – they know how to play in those situations, and on a good surface you expect a bit of a fightback from the number two side in the world.

"If we can make an early breakthrough, it could get us on a bit of a wicket train, because they're such key figures in their batting lineup. They've got huge amounts of experience and are class players, so it would give our guys a lot of confidence for sure."

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Root is the reason England have even the slimmest of chances, hitting a magnificent 226, and only being dismissed when he tried to increase the run rate and put the Black Caps under the pump.

England's Joe Root acknowledges applause after his 226. Photo / Photosport
England's Joe Root acknowledges applause after his 226. Photo / Photosport

He was left happy with his side's efforts, but slightly rueful they couldn't have scored slightly faster, and taken one or two more scalps before stumps.

"We obviously got into a position where we wanted to move the game forward a little bit and speed things up, and with the weather potentially coming in, give us a chance to force a game," Root explained.

"It would have been nice to get a couple more wickets. But I still feel if we can sneak a couple first thing – I know there's a bit of weather around but you just never know...

"There will be one big last push from everyone to try and come away with a levelled-up series."