Deluge of wickets turn third Test in England's favour as New Zealand wilt after rain delay

By Sports Desk June 25, 2022

Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell ended day three at Headingley tasked with producing another defiant partnership to put New Zealand in a winning position after England seemingly tilted the balance of a fascinating third Test slightly in their favour.

Seeking a 3-0 whitewash with victory at Headingley, England resumed play on the third day hopeful Jonny Bairstow and Jamie Overton would steer them into a first-innings lead.

Bairstow added to his overnight 130 to go past 150 in expedient fashion and, though Overton (97) was denied a Test century on debut, England claimed a lead of 31 runs as they were bowled out for 360.

Tom Latham (76) produced his best batting effort of a difficult series, but New Zealand slumped from 152-2 to 168-5 after a rain break in the evening session to leave Mitchell and Blundell nursing a lead of 137 when rain stopped play.

Bairstow was fluent once more after the morning session got going, his 150 the second-fastest in England's Test history as it came in 144 balls.

Overton was evidently more nervous and his hopes of a hundred went when he chased an off-stump delivery from Trent Boult and edged to first slip.

Stuart Broad (42) hit a barrage of boundaries to help England beyond 350 before he and Bairstow went in successive balls, Jack Leach the last man to depart after a pair of fours.

Despite Will Young's early exit to Matthew Potts (2-20), New Zealand progressed serenely until the first ball after tea, when Overton had Latham caught behind.

A brief rain delay undid New Zealand further. Ollie Pope claimed a brilliant catch at short leg as Devon Conway fell to Joe Root and Potts drew an edge to remove captain Kane Williamson (48), with Ben Stokes' faith in Leach rewarded by the spinner dismissing Henry Nicholls (7) caught and bowled and giving Mitchell and Blundell a recovery mission.
 

Quick work for Bairstow

Bairstow, who finished with 162 from 157 balls, was the star of the show with the bat at his home ground in England's first innings.

He did most of the damage on day two but only Stokes, who did so in 135 balls against South Africa in 2016, can claim to have reached a Test 150 faster than Bairstow, who donned the wicket-keeping gloves for New Zealand's second innings due to a back problem for Ben Foakes.

Can New Zealand's dream team do it again?

Mitchell and Blundell combined for a stand of 195 in the first Test and 236 in the second. They will likely need to produce another fine partnership to help New Zealand post an imposing target for England.

Potts, who has now dismissed Williamson in three of the Black Caps skipper's four innings this series, looks in the kind of form to thwart them.

Related items

  • Berardi signs new Sassuolo deal amid Juventus and Milan links Berardi signs new Sassuolo deal amid Juventus and Milan links

    Juventus and Milan target Domenico Berardi has signed a new contract with Sassuolo that will keep him at the club until 2027.

    Berardi impressed again for Sassuolo in the 2021-22 season, scoring 15 times in Serie A – the third consecutive campaign the forward has posted double figures in the league.

    He also recorded the most assists in the Italian top flight (14) and was the only Serie A forward to manage double figures for both goals and assists.

    The 28-year-old has been at Sassuolo his entire career, but there had been suggestions recently that he could be tempted by a new challenge.

    He was linked to Juventus, who co-owned him between 2013 and 2015, while Liverpool and Milan were also among those reportedly interested in the Italy international.

    However, it was announced on Wednesday that he had pledged his future to the club for a further five years.

    Berardi was in the headlines for the wrong reasons last week after he was involved in a heated spat with a Modena fan.

    Sassuolo were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by their Serie B hosts at Stadio Alberto Braglia, with their loss followed by Berardi apparently chasing an opposing supporter outside the ground.

    The footage went viral, but Berardi took to social media to offer an explanation, suggesting his family had been targeted off the pitch to spark his ire.

     

  • Cucurella vows to never cut his hair despite Romero incident Cucurella vows to never cut his hair despite Romero incident

    Marc Cucurella has vowed to never cut his hair in the wake of an incident involving Cristian Romero during Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

    The Spain international had his long locks pulled forcefully by Spurs defender Romero in the closing stages of Sunday's ill-tempered contest at Stamford Bridge.

    Cucurella, making his full debut for Chelsea following a £56million switch from Brighton and Hove Albion, ended up on the floor but no action was taken against Romero.

    Chelsea were leading 2-1 at that point but were pegged back by a Harry Kane header moments later, leaving boss Thomas Tuchel furious with the officials.

    Speaking at a press conference for his arrival on Wednesday, Cucurella was asked if he would consider cutting his hair to avoid any similar circumstances in the future.

    "No. Never. This is my style," he told reporters.

    Asked if he thought Romero was fortunate to avoid any punishment, Cucurella said: "Yes. For me it is too clear in the game, on the pitch.

    "I didn’t see it on the TV, the video. I think it's very clear but this is one error of the referee or VAR. Sometimes the referees have good decisions, sometimes not.

    "Maybe it's not an important action because it doesn't affect the final result, but we meet again in a few months and this is another opportunity."

    Cucurella set up fellow new signing Kalidou Koulibaly's opener against Tottenham to equal his assists tally from across 35 Premier League appearances with Brighton.

    The 24-year-old had more touches of the ball (99) than any other player on the field, while only team-mate Mason Mount (35) managed more passes in the final third than his 30.

    As well as being comfortable playing as a left wing-back, Cucurella can also play as a left-back and on the left side of central defence.

    He faces competition from Ben Chilwell for a regular starting spot, but the versatile defender has thanked his new colleague for helping him to adapt at a new club.

    "[Ben] helped me a lot in these first days, he's a very good person," Cucurella said.

    "We need to work hard to play in one position. We have two players for one position, but if one player is better, he will put him in the line-up. This is good for the team.

    "As for my best position, the three positions on the left side is good for me. I think maybe best for me is back four, left-back, because it's where I played in the academies."

  • Returning Rahul eager to create more 'great memories' in Zimbabwe Returning Rahul eager to create more 'great memories' in Zimbabwe

    KL Rahul is determined to add to the "great memories" of facing Zimbabwe when he returns as captain in a three-match ODI series.

    Rahul has not played for almost three months after undergoing a hernia operation and suffering with COVID-19.

    The batter has been passed fit to lead India at Harare Sports Club, where the opening match of the series will be staged on Thursday, with VVS Laxman stepping in as India head coach while Rahul Dravid takes a break.

    Rahul scored an unbeaten century on his ODI debut at the same venue six years ago and is eager to make up for lost time.

    He told reporters on Wednesday: "My ODI and T20I debut was in Harare. I got a 100 in my first game, so I have great memories here.

    "Hopefully I can add on to those memories. Coming back here after so many years and getting the opportunity to lead your country, obviously when you look back, it's very pleasing.

    "As a person you can see how much you've grown and how far you've come as a player. It gives me great joy. Hopefully I can add to those good memories and play some good cricket over the next week."

    India suffered a 3-0 series defeat to South Africa in Rahul's only previous series as skipper, but the tourists will be expected to dish out a whitewash of their own in Harare.

    Shikhar Dhawan captained India to a 3-0 clean sweep of West Indies in the 50-over format last month and the opener will be vice-captain as they look for a fourth consecutive series triumph.

    Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant are among the players who have been rested ahead of the Asia Cup. Shahbaz Ahmed will be hoping to make his debut after the all-rounder replaced the injured Washington Sundar.

    Zimbabwe ended a three-year wait for an ODI series win by beating Bangladesh 2-1, but this will be a much bigger challenge. 

    Regis Chakabva will skipper the hosts in the absence of Craig Ervine, who is out with a torn hamstring.

     

    Chahar must make his mark

    Deepak Chahar will make his long-awaited return after a six-month absence due to quad and back injuries.

    With so much competition for places, the seamer will know he must take his chance. The 30-year-old was not included in India's Asia Cup squad, but he is on standby.

    Raza key to Zimbabwe's hopes

    Sikandar Raza was named player of the series in Zimbabwe's triumph over the Tigers this month.

    The all-rounder scored two centuries, as well as taking five wickets, and Zimbabwe will look to him to contribute again with both bat and ball.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.