Jonny Bairstow hits brilliant century to lead stunning England fightback from 55-6 vs New Zealand




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England’s Jonny Bairstow hits his second successive century on day two of the third Test against New Zealand

England’s Jonny Bairstow hits his second successive century on day two of the third Test against New Zealand

Jonny Bairstow hit a blistering 10th Test match century to lead a remarkable England fightback after Trent Boult had dismantled the top-order on an exhilarating day two of the third Test at Headingley.

After Daryl Mitchell (109) had completed his third century of the series to help the tourists post 329 in their first innings, Boult got the ball hooping and castled each of England’s top three before Tim Southee ousted Joe Root to leave the home side 21-4.

That became 55-6 when Neil Wagner struck twice in his first over before a thrilling counter-attacking partnership between Bairstow (130no) and debutant Jamie Overton (89no) brought Ben Stokes’ side back into the game.

  • New Zealand 329 all out – Mitchell (109), Blundell (56); Leach (5-100), Broad (3-62)
  • England 264-6 – Bairstow (130no), J Overton (89no); Boult (3-73)

The pair put on an unbroken 209, England’s highest-ever seventh-wicket stand, to close on 264-6, trailing by 65, as the hosts heeded the words of their captain and ensured no one in attendance could claim they had been treated to anything less than the highest quality entertainment.

Day three already promises so much with fast bowler Overton just 11 runs short of a century and the outcome of the match still firmly in the balance.

Jonny Bairstow scored a stunning 10th Test century to take England out of trouble on day two at Headingley

Jonny Bairstow scored a stunning 10th Test century to take England out of trouble on day two at Headingley

Mitchell makes it three hundreds in as many Tests

After a first day that saw New Zealand grind out their runs, day two brought a more positive approach with Tom Blundell bringing up his sixth Test fifty with a boundary to end the first over of the day.

Both Mitchell and Blundell seemed keen to impose themselves on the England bowlers, but the former should have been heading back to the dressing room 11 balls into the morning session.

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He pushed at a full delivery from Matthew Potts but with the edge seemingly sailing into the hands of Root at first slip, Ben Foakes dived across to try and take the catch, managing only to divert past his former captain.

It was further frustration for Potts, who had bowled well without reward on day one, but he got his wicket a couple of overs later, Blundell (56) given lbw and with DRS temporarily unavailable due to a technical problem, the Kiwi right-hander could not review despite suspicions the ball was sliding down leg.

That ended a 120-run stand for the sixth wicket and brought about an attritional phase of play in which England managed to tie down Mitchell and Michael Bracewell.

Bracewell was given a life after edging birthday boy Stuart Broad to third slip, only for Bairstow put down the catch as he went one-handed to his right, but the England seamer got his man eventually, caught at second slip.

The arrival of Southee saw the run-rate climb with the Kiwi No 9 putting Broad into the stands as England went to the short-ball tactic.

Daryl Mitchell made it three centuries in the series before lunch in Leeds

Daryl Mitchell made it three centuries in the series before lunch in Leeds

Mitchell was starting to warm up, too, and needing five to become the first New Zealander to score three hundreds in a series in England, decided to get there in style; skipping down the track and pumping Leach back over his head for six.

The fifty partnership came up in just 38 balls and with lunch imminent, Stokes brought the field up and encouraged Mitchell to repeat the shot that had taken him to his century. The right-hander took the bait and when he failed to make a clean connection, Stokes himself was there to take the catch over his shoulder as he ran back from mid-off.

Boult runs riot in astonishing afternoon session

That was Leach’s third wicket and four and five came quickly after the break, first Southee and then Wagner looking for the big shot and holing out to give the spinner his first Test five-for on home soil.

That was just the start of an astonishing afternoon session that saw 95 runs scored, eight wickets fall and Boult produce a mesmerising masterclass in swing bowling.

Ollie Pope was bowled by a beauty during a brilliant spell from Trent Boult

Ollie Pope was bowled by a beauty during a brilliant spell from Trent Boult

Alex Lees (4) had already been put down by Mitchell at first slip before the Black Caps left-armer pegged back his off stump with a near-unplayable delivery five balls into the innings; the ball angled in before swinging away late to beat the left-hander.

Boult was at it again soon after, this time curving the ball handsomely between Ollie Pope’s (5) bat and pad to uproot the off stump.

It nearly got worse for England when Zak Crawley called Root through for a single that was never there but any relief that Kane Williamson’s throw missed its mark was short lived as Boult promptly found his again.

Crawley (6) was drawn into a loose drive and Boult’s in-swinger snaked through the gate and thudded into middle stump, 17-3.

Boult produced a masterclass of swing bowling to leave England in the mire at 21-4 and 55-6

Boult produced a masterclass of swing bowling to leave England in the mire at 21-4 and 55-6

Root has had to dig England out of many a hole over the years but this time even he could not save them. Southee went wider on the crease and made the world’s No 1 ranked Test batter play at a snorter that nipped away just a fraction to get the feather through to Blundell.

Stokes cameo cut short by Wagner

Where plenty of sides would have looked to dig in and try to ride out the new-ball storm, under their new regime, England are not one of them.

Instead, in the 3.1 overs between Root’s dismissal and the drinks break, they scored 34 runs as Stokes and Bairstow countered.

Bairstow crunched Boult through the cover twice, Stokes charged Southee and hit him back down the ground for six – the England captain’s 100th maximum in Tests – and for a short time, the crowd were dreaming of a repeat of the duo’s Trent Bridge onslaught.

Wagner put paid to that two balls after drinks when Stokes (18 off 13 balls) charged him for the second ball running and, in trying to hit over the top, chipped the ball to Williamson, who was halfway back at mid-off.

Ben Stokes' attempted counter was cut short by Neil Wagner

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Ben Stokes’ attempted counter was cut short by Neil Wagner

Ben Stokes’ attempted counter was cut short by Neil Wagner

Three balls later and Wagner, bowling his first over of the series after missing out on selection for the first two Tests, had another. Ben Foakes was pinned on the knee-roll by an in-swinger and the review came in vain.

It was almost three in the over, another lbw shout, this time against Overton, but ball-tracking showed it pitched outside leg.

That was no doubt in the New Zealand minds when they opted against a review at the end of Wagner’s next over. A mistake as it turned out, this time Overton would have been lbw.

Bairstow was the next to be reprieved, pushing the ball back to Wagner, who could not cling on in his follow-through, and England made it to tea without inflicting any further damage.

Bairstow and Overton lead barnstorming England fightback

After a couple of overs to reacclimatise to conditions, Bairstow and Overton started to accelerate and for long spells in the evening session, New Zealand were unable to stem the flow of runs.

After New Zealand lost another review, Boult’s delivery to Overton shown to be missing leg, Bairstow nailed the ball through the covers to go past 5,000 Test runs.

Bairstow reached 5,000 Test runs on his way to another memorable century

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Bairstow reached 5,000 Test runs on his way to another memorable century

Bairstow reached 5,000 Test runs on his way to another memorable century

Meanwhile, Overton, brought into the side for his bowling, was showing himself to be a more than capable batter, peeling off a number of eye-catching drives through the covers before drilling the ball through mid-off to bring up the fifty partnership.

Bairstow himself eased to a half-century soon afterwards and with New Zealand’s earlier zeal and threat now a distant memory, the runs just kept coming.

Overton brought up the century stand with a mighty six, off-spinner Bracewell clubbed over long on, and then went to a debut half-century, from 68 balls, with a brutal pull in front of square for four off Wagner.

Watch the best moments from Jamie Overton's 50 as he makes his first half-century on Test debut

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Watch the best moments from Jamie Overton’s 50 as he makes his first half-century on Test debut

Watch the best moments from Jamie Overton’s 50 as he makes his first half-century on Test debut

There was no let-up from England and Bairstow, fresh from his sensational match-winning ton in Nottingham, was quickly closing in on three figures once more.

A sumptuous on drive took him to 97 and a single kept him on strike for the start of the next over. Boult was brought back to bowl it, the crowd was expectant and Bairstow did not make them wait long, crunching the first ball back through mid-off for four.

The crowd roared, Bairstow roared – back-to-back hundreds for the first time in Test cricket and the celebration was one for the ages, the Yorkshireman sprinting three quarters of the way to the boundary on his home ground as the thoroughly-deserved ovation continued.

The fans were on their feet again at the close of play, saluting the local hero and his partner. Just another day of Test match cricket with Brendon McCullum and Stokes’ entertainers.

Stats of the day

  • Daryl Mitchell (482) is the leading run-scorer for New Zealand in a series against England, overtaking Martin Donnelly’s 462 in 1949.
  • Mitchell is the fifth New Zealand batter to score centuries in three successive Test matches.
  • Ben Stokes hit his 100th Test six, the third player to the milestone. He moves level with Adam Gilchrist and only Brendon McCullum (107) has hit more than him.

Watch day three of the third LV= Insurance Test between England and New Zealand, at Headingley, live on Sky Sports Cricket with coverage starting at 10.15am and play getting underway at 11am, on Saturday.



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