Day three was certainly a better day for England than day two was. The day was overcast and the seamers got a bit more help and especially once they got the second new ball in the afternoon. It wasn’t so good that England could get back into the match, however, and that is largely down to the efforts of Hamish Rutherford in the morning. He scored 171, four more than the entire English team, before departing to the first delivery of the second new ball and has almost single handedly given New Zealand their lead. Especially on debut, it was an enormously impressive innings. The next highest score for the Kiwis is only 55, though Brendan McCullum is 44 not out overnight.
That innings from McCullum is important also in it’s timing. He came in with New Zealand teetering a bit on 310-4 and it was then very quickly 326-6. New Zealand were certainly in danger of not getting the lead that they wanted and maybe not even a lead over two hundred. But McCullum scored his runs very quickly and often quite streakily whilst England kept the field up to attack and has scored better than a run-a-ball whilst getting the lead up to 235. It was particularly frustrating for England after they had done very well to get an opening, only to see it slam shut on them.
The drizzle and bad light meant that play was abandoned early again, which from this position will suit England. But the game has progressed so fast that even losing the better part of four sessions to the weather has not made the impact one would expect. New Zealand probably have time to bat a bit more in the morning, but McCullum should strongly consider declaring overnight. With the lead already 235, England will have to bat for most of the day just to reach parity and from there it will be more than a session into day five before they can make the match safe. New Zealand can make this task a bit harder for England by batting on, but I very much doubt it will be worth taking the additional time out of the match. The pitch is flat and expected to stay flat and New Zealand may want as much time as possible to bowl England out and possibly chase a target. The only reason for New Zealand to keep batting would be if they were worried about possibly losing the match, which is not even a vaguely realistic concern at this point.