sport news England lead New Zealand by 231 runs on day three of the second Test

If James Vince was not perhaps quite drinking in the last chance saloon when he walked out here after yet another early wicket then he must have been at the very least raising a glass to his lips.

The selection of Vince for this Test tour was not exactly welcomed enthusiastically by the bulk of England supporters after an under-whelming Ashes when he was full of style but all too short on substance.

And when he became the odd man out in Auckland as it became clear Ben Stokes would only be able to play as a batsman it did look as though he might be quietly eased out of the picture ahead of the home summer.

England's James Vince in action during day three of the second Test match against New Zealand in Christchurch

England's James Vince in action during day three of the second Test match against New Zealand in Christchurch

England's Mark Stoneman (right) celebrates hitting a four with team-mate Vince during day three of the match

England's Mark Stoneman (right) celebrates hitting a four with team-mate Vince during day three of the match

Vince battled through a tough start to stand on the brink of his first meaningful contribution and was well caught on 76

Vince battled through a tough start to stand on the brink of his first meaningful contribution and was well caught on 76

Even when England’s capitulation at Eden Park led to a re-think ahead of this all-important second Test it was assumed Liam Livingstone had a much better chance of making his debut than a re-call for the almost forgotten Vince.

Yet the modern England believe in continuity and it was remembered by Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss that Plan A here was for Vince to play in both Tests so they could discover once and for all whether he had what it takes.

They do not yet have the full answer but Vince did enough on the third day of this final Test to at the very least earn himself another go when England play Pakistan in two home Tests that start, all too quickly, next month.

There was huge pressure on Vince when he arrived at the fall of Alastair Cook cheaply once again with England just 53 ahead after New Zealand had added an enterprising 86 to their overnight 192 for six.

Another cameo, with a couple of dreamy drives and then a soft dismissal, would have left Vince’s Test future very much in jeopardy but he battled through a tough start to stand on the brink of his first meaningful contribution.

Sadly, Vince being Vince, he aimed one flashy drive too many at Trent Boult and was well caught on 76 in the slips by Ross Taylor, but by that stage he had taken England to what should be a commanding position.

New Zealand's Trent Boult (third left) is congratulated by team-mates after dismissing England's Alastair Cook

New Zealand's Trent Boult (third left) is congratulated by team-mates after dismissing England's Alastair Cook

There was huge pressure on Vince when he arrived at the fall of Cook cheaply once again on day three of the second Test

There was huge pressure on Vince when he arrived at the fall of Cook cheaply once again on day three of the second Test

Vince ends his first winter at No3 with 336 runs from 11 innings at 30.54 with three 50s. It is not good enough yet to forge a successful career but that cover drive is to die for. We have not seen the last of it at this level yet.

If Vince can look forward to at least two more Tests to prove his worth then so to can his partner in a second wicket stand of 123 in Mark Stoneman even though in his case the jury remains firmly out.

Stoneman came into this Test with four Test half centuries but no score of 60 and while he at least reached that landmark here he

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