England are still confident Nick Compton is capable of delivering big runs when it matters most despite his latest failure.
The 29-year-old was bounced out for a single against a New Zealand XI by Mark Gillespie, to add to his first-innings 21, before England recovered from 67 for four to reach 256 for nine by the close. That put them 333 runs ahead going into the final day thanks principally to a near run-a-ball half-century from Matt Prior (68) and then Graeme Swann's brisk unbeaten 41.
Compton has been given the chance to consolidate his hard work in the historic series win in India before Christmas, as England again resist the temptation to take a punt just yet on pushing young Yorkshireman Joe Root up to open the innings. Prior said: "He would want to have gone out and smashed a hundred."
He continued: "But he's hitting the ball brilliantly in the nets, and it will be down to him to get his preparation right going into the Test. You can score all the runs you want in the world in warm-up games, but ultimately that first innings of the Test match is where we want Compo to go and score a big hundred."
The same goes for Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, who have both proved many times before that they are adept at rising to the occasion.
"The guys are experienced enough and have played long enough now to know that the big test starts next week, and that's when it's important they score runs," Prior added. "They've been on tours where they haven't scored any runs in warm-up games, and then blitzed a hundred in the first Test."
England got themselves into a spot of bother, with Gillespie taking four wickets, before Prior dominated an important stand with Root.
"Obviously, it wasn't great to start off with - you don't want to lose early wickets," he said. "Those guys at the top would love to score hundreds every time they walk out to bat, but that's not possible.
"In that scenario, it's up to the middle and lower order to bail the team out - and, from that point of view, it was excellent practice.
"For me personally, to be in that position - not dissimilar to how it would be in a Test match, if we'd lost a few early wickets with bowlers running in hard - to knuckle down and find a bit of rhythm out in the middle is perfect preparation. That's very, very pleasing... what you're trying to get out of warm-up matches."