Jack Leach marked his Test debut with a career-best 10 wickets as England beat New Zealand at Headingley on Sunday. Joe Root and Joe Pope led the way as the Three Lions looked to complete a 3-0 series win.
After reaching 183-2 at stumps on the fourth day, England needed another 113 runs to reach their target of 296. Root and Pope put on an unbroken stand of 132 for the third wicket as England chased down the target. It was the highest partnership for England’s third-wicket pair in a Test match.
After winning the first two Tests of the series, England is a favourite to take the three-match series against the Black Caps. They were able to chase down impressive targets of 277 and 299 at Lord’s and Trent Bridge.
Alex Lees was run out after trying to make a simple single following a catch by NZ skipper Kane Williamson. Trent Boult gathered the ball and ran him out.
After making 25 runs, Zak Crawley’s innings ended similarly. He was caught by Michael Bracewell at the cover.
Root stays prime
Root, who stepped down as England’s captain after 17 Tests, made 51 runs in the first innings. Even though his previous record as the team captain was one win in 17 matches, the former captain scored 1,708 runs in 2021.
On the other hand, the Kiwis were hoping to get rid of Root early by getting him out lbw on the fourth day. The visitors wasted two of their three reviews on the same issue.
Thousands of fans could watch the fifth day of the match for free, just like they were in Nottingham last week. Root then hit a reverse-slide six off Neil Wagner.
A superb knock from Pope highlighted the impressive performance of England’s lower order. He hit three fours and a six off consecutive balls from Wagner.
The conditions at the venue were ideal for batting. After reaching his fifty, Root faced 78 balls and hit a legside boundary off Bracewell. He was selected ahead of Ajaz Patel, who is a frontline spinner.
Leach thrashes New Zealand
For the fourth time in the series, Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell put on a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket. However, their partnership ended when Matthew Potts took charge.
Since becoming a part of the England team, Leach has performed well as a left-arm spin bowler. He took 10 wickets in the match and became the 25th player in the country to reach a hundred Test wickets. His 5-100 in the first innings and 10-116 in the second were also impressive.
After making a crucial breakthrough, Potts, in his debut Test series, got rid of Mitchell for 56. He ended the partnership with 113 runs.
Mitchell only played in the first Test at Lord’s due to Henry Nicholls’ injury and ended the season with 538 runs. He became the first player outside the sub-continent to score three hundred in a series in England.
After getting Bracewell out of lbw with a catch at deep mid-on, the impressive performance of the England spin attack continued. Leach then trapped Wagner’s leg before for a duck. The left-armer also got the prized wicket of Sam Billings, who only started as a replacement for Ben Foakes.