England set for another win
England are on top as they head into day four at Headingley. They began the day as 1.9310/11 favourites. They end it at 1.738/11 jollies.
It will be no surprise if they don't shorten rapidly after another day of ebb and flow but, ultimately, one that served to remind us that New Zealand just cannot match the home team's intensity. Bet the match odds here.
In that regard it is a case of déjà vu. The Kiwis did well to peg back England. Conceding a lead of 31 would have felt like a win when Jonny Bairstow and Jamie Overton were pummelling them to all parts.
Then their batters dropped anchor. And the odds were favouring New Zealand as they effortlessly made their way to 125 for one. Cue their typical, for this series at least, inability to cope with having their snouts in front. In the heady heights of the ascendancy they got another nose bleed and are now left desperately pinning their hopes on another rearguard from Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell.
Where would the Kiwis have been without these two? Time and time again they have come to their rescue. It is tempting to reckon that, sooner or later, one of them is going to get a good one, or, believe it or not, make an error themselves.
Sportsbook's runs quotes are therefore interesting. We can short Mitchell at 32.5 at 10/11 and Blundell at 33.5 at the same price. They have four and five respectively. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
Both men have to start their innings afresh after some dogged work before rain came to end the action early. They are likely to be greeted by muggy conditions and cloud cover. Exactly the sort that we have learnt to expect wickets at this venue.
New Zealand's innings runs also look worth a short. With England being two wickets away from the bowlers, Sportsbook are a bit toppy at 300.5. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
Leading by 137, perversely it might be in New Zealand's best interests that they have a low total to defend. After all, they've been unable to get over the line when setting targets of 277 and 299. Also cast your mind back to the tour match against the county representative XI when they failed to defend 264.
What might appeal about the Kiwis attack going all-out attack with maybe a 180 or 190 lead is that England may not know whether to stick or twist. Being ultra aggressive is fine but it's a different kettle of fish when you have all the time in the world to go after those runs.
And if they do put their foot down and suddenly find themselves in a hole - say 56 for three like at Trent Bridge - panic could set in. It will be fascinating to see whether they have the nous to be more cautious. A tarde on the Kiwis at a big number, checking out with an early flurry of wickets, is one for the notebook.
They are unlikely, however, to have any trouble with the pitch. Headingley has a higher fourth-innings average than any other innings and there have been whopping chases there in the last few years.