England Lions v New Zealand: Rain halts Root & Bairstow

New Zealand's players help the ground staff put the covers on at Grace Road
Tour match, Leicester (day three of four):
New Zealand 285 v England Lions 315-4
Match scorecard

Joe Root continued to make hay for England Lions against New Zealand on a rain-affected third day at Leicester.

The Lions resumed on 219-2 in reply to the Kiwis' 285, but the bad weather meant only 22 overs were possible.

Unbeaten on 105 overnight, captain Root lost night-watchman Chris Wright and James Taylor cheaply early on.

But in-form Root (143 not out) added 81 with Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow (45 not out), taking the Lions to 315-4 with one day of the game remaining.

With two sessions of Sunday's play lost, a draw now looks the most likely outcome.

Root and Bairstow will line up together for the full England side at Lord's on Thursday after both were named in the squad for the first Test before play began - and will have relished the chance to make runs against New Zealand's likely Test bowling attack.

However, Nottinghamshire's Taylor will feel he has missed an opportunity to impress in front of the selectors, who gave him his Test debut against South Africa last summer ahead of Bairstow and Root, only for him to fall behind both of them in the pecking order and miss out on selection for the winter tours.

As an ex-Leicestershire batsman, Taylor was in familiar surroundings at Grace Road, but had made only two before Trent Boult induced a false shot and Taylor edged to keeper BJ Watling.

The left-arm paceman also had Wright caught in the slips, but lost his new-ball partner Tim Southee, who was forced off with a foot injury after bowling only five overs on day three.

Southee will take no further part in the Lions match, but coach Mike Hesson is confident he will be able to take his place in the Black Caps side at Lord's.

A mid-morning shower had interrupted play, but the rain later returned with Root and Bairstow in command, and play was called off for the day not long after tea.

Bairstow is relishing a return to Lord's after scoring 95 and 54 against South Africa there last year - the only occasions in his six-Test career in which he has passed 20.

"I've obviously got very fond memories of that game," he said.

"It was a very good Test match for me and I was very pleased with the way I did. But that's a very long time ago now."

Aware that he owes his Test place to Kevin Pietersen's knee injury, Bairstow added: "No-one expects to be picked for England.

"There's plenty of players out there who've scored runs early season - and luckily enough, I've been the one that gets the call. I hope I'll do myself justice."

Match scorecard

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