The final, third Test of the series v New Zealand at Leeds saw England bag the series 3-0. New Zealand got to a strong first innings total of 329 and topped it with a brilliant opening hour bowling session, but wasn’t a lot later as England accelerated their attack and went past New Zealand’s total and finished with a 31 run lead. Kiwi’s in their 2nd innings did well to go past 300 and finished with a 295 lead that England had to chase down for a win. England lost their openers early, but Root and Ollie Pope stitched an intentful partnership that got England in a very comfortable position and at the end Jonny Bairstow in his natural fashion sealed it for his side, England.
ENGLAND’S XI :
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes (WK), Jamie Overton, Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach.
NEW ZEALAND’S XI :
Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (WK), Micheal Bracewell, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
Broad makes immediate impact, New Zealand having won the toss don’t have the start they would have wished having lost Latham for a six ball duck. Kane Williamson was in early and alongside Will Young stitched a good 35 run partnership before the latter depart for 20 and it was Jack Leach with a wicket first ball. Conway and Williamson had a 27 run stand that saw curtains with the wicket of Williamson on 31 and it was Broad who was reintroduced into this attack and striked big Early in the 2nd session, debutant, Jamie Overton had his first Test wicket in Conway who walked back for 26 and Kiwi’s were 4 down with 83 on board. Henry struggled to find runs on an end and on the other end, man in form, Daryl Mitchell was starting to take control and a crucial 40 run stand was on board and then occurred something that stunned the cricketing world, Henry fired one down the ground that hit the middle of Mitchell’s bat at the non-striker end and went straight in the hands of fielder at mid off and England had a lucky wicket off Jack Leach’s bowling. Kiwi’s were 5 down for 123. Tom Blundell walked out and joined Daryl Mitchell who again had repair work to do and didn’t disappoint. Daryl Mitchell got to his fifty and shared a century run stand at the end of day’s play. Mitchell and Blundell remained unbeaten on 78 and 45 respectively and more importantly had New Zealand out of trouble.
First over of play on day 2 saw Blundell get to this 50, but soon for 55 walked back and Potts provided England the much awaited breakthrough. Bracewell couldn’t add a lot, walked back for 13 and Broad had his 3rd with Kiwi’s 265-7. Southee with real intent got going and launched big to the English bowlers, Daryl Mitchell on the other end registered his 3rd ton for the series. Stokes set a trap and Leach executed it for England to celebrate Mitchell’s wicket as he walked back for a brilliant 109. Leach soon got Southee’s carnage to a stop having dismissed him on 33(29) and again striked a ball later, this time Wagner had to walk back for 4 and Jack Leach love affair with Headingley was on display again this time it was a fifer. New Zealand were well placed with a strong 329 on board. For England, Jack Leach with his fifer and Stuart Broad with his three topped the wickets chart. Both, Matthew Potts and Jamie Overton had a wicket each to their name. New Zealand were off to a fantastic start despite Daryl Mitchell’s dropping Lees off the 2nd ball as in a couple balls time Lees walked back for 4(5). Boult striked his 2nd, got Ollie Pope walk back for 4. Boult soon had his 3rd in Crawley for 6. Southee too joined the wickets party and striked big that of Joe Root on 5 and England in deep trouble, 4 down for 23. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes took on the Kiwi attack with aggresive intent, stay didn’t last long from Stokes as he walked back for 18(13) and it had Neil Wagner in the game. Wagner again, in the same over and Foakes departed for a 3 ball duck. Jamie Overton on debut walked out at 55-6 to bat alongside Jonny Bairstow who was 16 off 9. Both, Bairstow and Overton went big and aggresive and Jonny Bairstow got his 50* off just 51 balls, soon Jamie Overton with a six got the century stand and with a boundary hit got to his 50 off 68. The carnage continued and Bairstow accelerated to his century, it’d come off just 95 balls. Overs before the close of play the 200 run stand was on board. From 55-6, England were 264-6 at stumps, some fightback this was.
Day 3 saw Bairstow continue on his merry way and get to his 150*, Jamie Overton was just a boundary from a century on debut, but wasn’t meant to be as Boult striked and New Zealand had an early wicket for the day with Jamie Overton walking back for a brilliant 97(136). Stuart Broad was in and meant business from ball 1, played a very handy knock of 42 coming off just 36 before Southee knocked him over. Next over, first ball, Jonny Bairstow walked back soaking the warm applause for his brilliant 162 off just 157. Jack Leach got a couple away and was dismissed by Southee for 8 and England were all out for 360, but importantly had a 31 run lead. For New Zealand, Boult with his 4 topped the wickets chart that Southee, Wagner and Bracewell followed with 3, 2 and 1 wicket(s) respectively to their name. New Zealand’s 2nd innings had a decent 28 run opening stand, Potts striked and got England their first in form will Will Young for 8. Kane Williamson and Tom Latham stitched a good partnership and the latter got this 50* off 70. Right after tea, ball 1, Jamie Overton broke the 97 run stand having brushed the edge of Latham’s bat got him walk back for a fine 76(100). Devon Conway started to get going, but there was a little rain interruption and when play resumed, first ball, Ollie Pope grabbed a stunner low to his left fielding at forward short leg to see the back of Conway and it was Joe Root with a wicket to his name. Potts soon had his 2nd and for the 3rd time in the series striked Kane Williamson who walked back for a fine 48. Henry Nicholls poor run continued and Jack Leach had his first. It again was Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell who found themselves in the middle with a big task in hand saw stumps unbeaten on 5 and 4 respectively with New Zealand 169-5.
Day 4, New Zealand started off well and it again was the same pair of Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell who frustrated England. Tom Blundell got to his 50, Daryl Mitchell followed and this was their fourth century stand. The 113 run stand saw curtains as Potts striked a big one in Daryl Mitchell who walked back for a crucial 56(152). Leach operating from the other end, striked Bracewell for 9, Southee and Wagner in the same over for 2 and 0 respectively. Blundell on the other end got a few to the fence and falling short of partners, inched close to a ton, but wasn’t to be as Leach striked Boult for 4 and got to his fifer in the 2nd innings and had 10 for the game. With Blundell unbeaten on a brilliant 88, New Zealand closed out on 326, with a lead of 295. For England, Leach again topped the wickets chart with 5 to his name, Potts with his 3, Joe Root and Jamie Overton with one each made it to the wickets column. England wanting 296 for a 3-0 win walked out, had a positive start, but Kane Williamson’s epic pick up and throw to Boult who’s lighting hands dislodged the bails at non-striker end saw Lees walk back for 9. Zak Crawley was looking good in the middle and Ollie Pope too quickly got into his business. England edge past 50, on 51 lost their 2nd wicket in Zak Crawley for 25 as Bracewell struck. Joe Root made his way to the middle and alongside a set Ollie Pope got going positively. Pope got his 50* off 66 balls and was very comped, looked set for another big one. Century run stand was up for the duo and had come at a real good rate. Joe Root after an aggresive start, paced his innings a bit down and got to his 50* off 78 balls. England were 183-2 at close of play with Joe Root and Ollie Pope unbeaten on 55 and 81 respectively and the partnership worth, 132*(163). England trail by 113 for the win.
Day 5, England wanting 113 for the win with 8 wickets in hand saw a delayed start due to rain. When play resumed, 5 balls in and Southee got Ollie Pope walk back for a brilliant 82(108). Jonny Bairstow walked in and got to business straight away, Joe Root too was aggresive in his intent. Bairstow got to his 50 off just 30 balls, the local lads shared a century run stand and with England wanting 10 smashed Bracewell for a boundary and then a maximum to seal the series win 3-0 for England, a 7 wicket win with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on 86(125) and 71(44) respectively. An hour of play, 15. 2 is what England took to get the job done. Fitting, really was with Jonny Bairstow in the middle and launching one to seal the deal with Joe Root on the other end, just very fitting. Only a couple wickets picked by the visitors, a wicket each to Southee and Bracewell.
Joe Root for England and Daryl Mitchell for New Zealand were awarded as the player of the series. Lack Leach, with a fifer in both innings or say with a 10 for the match bagged the player of the match award.
It’s been a real hard series for the visitors Kiwi’s, to go down 0-3 it’s never easy and especially when a lot was done right. Individual disappointments have been many and that’s something New Zealand will look to fix quickly. Host nation, England, did the unexpected with a 3-0, clean sweep series win and in a fashion Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum are know for, intentful. Intentions and words were clear to play aggresive cricket from the English camp and to execute and get the job in the similar fashion is just exceptional work. Well, England have business undone, in a dew days time they will turn up at Edgbaston for the series decider of the 2021 edition and a win there is what’ll be running on the minds of players in the English camp.