Stumps – 225/5
What a great day it’s been !! England were completely dominant with the ball, picking regular wickets, not allowing NZ to score freely but wow the visitors have ensured they don’t go down without a fight. And once again, it’s that duo again. But with just 225 on the board, they have a lot to do tomorrow.
These two are at it again. It’s quite incredible how they have managed to do it multiple times on this tour already. New Zealand were sinking but Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell have come out and steadied the ship once again to frustrate England to get involved in a century stand. Top stuff.
50 for Mitchell
He smashes one over long off to bring up another half-century. Daryl Mitchell is New Zealand’s savior on this tour and he is doing it again. That six also brought up the fifty-run partnership. Is this duo hell-bent on frustrating England again?
Mitchell and Blundell key for NZ
So once again the onus is on this duo to rescue the side. They did it twice already so they will be confident but will the law of averages catch up? England will hope so.
That’s also Tea as England continue to remain on top. Nicholls comes down the track and smashes Leach but the ball hits Mitchell’s bat and lobs over only for Lees to take it at mid off. The players head back to the dressing room with that wicket. England are firmly on top as NZ struggle at 123/5.
A special wicket
Your first wicket in Test cricket is always special and Jamie Overton is letting everyone know that. England have struck after lunch and Conway has to walk back to the pavilion now. That was a loose stroke away from his body and he only manages to get an inside edge that knocks the timber. NZ are 4 down and crisis man Daryl Mitchell walks out to the middle.
Williamson finally looked good to break his rut but Broad returns to see the back of the New Zealand skipper. This was excellent bowling. He first bowled an incoming delivery that caught Williamson by surprise and the next delivery straightened a touch and even though it was bowled wide, Williamson wanted to defend it and ended up edging behind to the keeper. NZ lose three now. They wouldn’t want to lose another one before the break.
Just at the stroke of the hour mark, England strike again. Young is disappointed and rightly so. Jack Leach enters the attack and strikes first ball with a delivery that just went straight. Young couldn’t connect with the ball and was trapped leg-before-wicket. New Zealand are two down now. Not the ideal start after opting to bat.
The ideal start
Broad strikes in the very first over of the Test match. He pitches one on a good length just outside off and it straightens enough to force Tom Latham to play at it and edge behind to Joe Root at slip. England strike very early !!
Cough – New Zealand opt to bat
On expected lines, Neil Wagner finally gets a go in the series as a replacement for Kyle Jamieson. Matt Henry is out of the XI as well as New Zealand opt to strengthen their batting.
New Zealand (Playing XI): Tom Latham, Will Young, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (w), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner
England (Playing XI): Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (w), Jamie Overton, Matty Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
Dead rubber you say? Not really sure about that given both these teams have a lot to play for in this final Test match at Headingley. New Zealand are hurt. They are the world champions in this format and just 12 months ago, they beat England in a series on these shores. So to find themselves 2-0 down will hurt them big time given the manner in which they lost. And to be honest, they couldn’t have done anything in the previous Test match considering the way Jonny Bairstow absolutely smashed them around. The mentality of this side has changed ever since Brendon McCullum took charge. And now, Ben Stokes would dearly love to make it 3-0.
A victory in this contest will give them plenty of confidence going into the all important Test match against India next week. India are leading that series 2-1 and England will have to win that postponed Test to draw the series. Given the importance of that Test match, the hosts have rested James Anderson for this clash to give his ankle time to heal. Jamie Overton will be making his debut today. The hosts are quite excited to unleash him. For New Zealand, Kane Williamson returns after missing the last Test. Kyle Jamieson is out but the visitors will be pleased that Devon Conway and Michael Bracewell have recovered. Can Williamson find form and help his side pull one back to end the tour on a high? Or will Stokes see his side coast to a 3-0 win? Welcome to this live blog for the final Test.