Ben Foakes is sizing up what could be a dramatic final day of action between England and New Zealand at Trent Bridge after the potential series-deciding clash sparked into life.
The hosts edged towards parity on day four’s morning session courtesy of the wicketkeeper batter and Joe Root, who shared a stand of 111, before the latter was dismissed for a Trent Bridge career best of 176.
England finished 14 runs shy of the Blackcaps' first innings 553, then took seven wickets to leave the visitors 238 runs ahead going into a final day, for which a bumper crowd is now expected.
“It is going to be a great day,” Foakes said. “So much has happened so quickly this afternoon that now all three results are in play. It should be a full day, and one hell of a day.
“When you are that many behind, you are not really thinking about the end result. You are essentially batting well enough to not lose the game. But then you do know that things can happen so quickly; pitches can deteriorate.
“It is a fantastic game, it has taken a while to get here but tomorrow could be a great day in prospect."
The visitors came in for praise from Foakes for their approach to their second innings and decision not to bat out for a draw.
New Zealand started their innings a handful of overs prior to the lunch interval - enough time for James Anderson to claim his 650th Test wicket as a Tom Latham shouldered arms to an inswinging delivery - and ticked along at 3.2 an over before finishing on 224.
But they did prove the architects of their own downfall with a pair of run outs and some aggressive shot making.
“The third innings is always very tricky,” Foakes said.
“With the score being one nil, they have taken the positive approach. With a lot of modern cricket, that is the way. Trying to back their game and win it is a positive approach, it’s given them a chance to win the game but it has given us a chance as well."
New Zealand’s Micheal Bracewell, who made a 17-ball 25 before advancing down the track to Matthew Potts and plinking to Stuart Broad at mid-on, spoke on similar terms.
“We’re pretty confident that there will be a result,” he said. “We want to get as many runs as we can tomorrow and then go about taking those 10 English wickets.
“The wicket is deteriorating nicely for us,” the spin bowling all-rounder continued. “It seems to be getting a little bit more turn and bounce. Leachy showed that today.
“I am excited to get out there and bowl on it, and I think the English team might come up with a few different plans to try and play me in this fourth innings, so it is going to be an exciting day to test my skills against some of the best players in the world.”
Foakes, meanwhile, is hopeful that the Trent Bridge faithful will show similar levels of support as their penultimate day efforts.
“I was pretty cooked come the end of the day. Hearing the supporters having a good time just gives you that extra edge to get to the end of the day,” he admitted.
“It definitely lifted the guys.”