Home hero Bairstow leads England's Headingley recovery after Boult burst

By Sports Desk June 24, 2022

Headingley hero Jonny Bairstow and new boy Jamie Overton dug England out of trouble on a sensational second day of the third Test against New Zealand.

Playing on his home ground, Yorkshireman Bairstow scored a breathtaking 130 not out, forging an unlikely and unbroken alliance worth 209 runs for the seventh wicket with Jamie Overton as England, in their first innings, recovered from 55-6 to reach 264-6 at stumps.

They were replying to New Zealand's 329 all out, in which Daryl Mitchell converted his overnight 78 not out into a third century of the series. That is the joint-most hundreds by any New Zealand player in a Test series, matching Andrew Jones' feat against Sri Lanka in 1991 and Ross Taylor's three against West Indies in 1993.

He was eventually out for 109, caught smartly by England captain Ben Stokes off Jack Leach (5-100), as New Zealand progressed from 225-5 at the start of play.

Getting close to that score looked beyond England when they made a dismal start in reply, the mercurial brilliance of Trent Boult accounting for the home side's top three as New Zealand's left-armer bowled Alex Lees, Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley.

It was a masterful demonstration of swing bowling, and the situation got no better for England as Joe Root fell for five, caught behind off Tim Southee, before Stokes (18) and Ben Foakes (0) were prised out by Neil Wagner.

Desperate times called for Bairstow brilliance, and the man whose late father David played so many matches on this Leeds ground delivered in remarkable style, driving, pulling and cutting as New Zealand struggled to contain him.

Bairstow drove Boult through mid-off to seal a 95-ball century, the second Test ton he has made at the ground after the 140 that set up an innings victory against Sri Lanka in 2016.

It was his second century of this series and a fourth in Tests for the 32-year-old since the turn of the year, after he also reached three figures against Australia. Across his career, it was a 10th Test ton.

Test newcomer Overton was exceptional too, unbeaten on 89 by the close, setting up what could be a pivotal Saturday.

England lead the three-match series 2-0, with Bairstow and Overton raising hopes of a clean sweep.

MARVEL MITCHELL

Before the Bairstow show began, the man of the day was Mitchell. He has enjoyed a stupendous series, reaching 482 runs from five innings so far.

That is the most runs scored by a New Zealand batter in a men's Test series against England, and Mitchell should get another crack in the second innings too. Centuries at Lord's, Trent Bridge and Headingley mean, even in defeat, he has been able to hold his head high.

WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY

From a position of peril, Bairstow and Overton took 37.1 overs to add over 200 runs. In the process they achieved England's first ever century partnership for the seventh wicket at Headingley, and then doubled it. Overton is in the side principally for his bowling but looked perfectly nequipped with bat in hand.

Bairstow's highest Test score is the 167 not out he scored against Sri Lanka at Lord's in June 2016, a matter of weeks after the Headingley ton against the same opposition. Going beyond that must be now in his sights.

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