England start Stokes-McCullum era with Test clean sweep over NZ
Powerful knocks from Joe Root (86*) and Jonny Bairstow (71*) guiding the hosts to a thumping seven-wicket win over the Kiwis
- United Kingdom
England Test team began the Stokes-McCullum era with a dominant clean sweep over New Zealand, with powerful knocks from Joe Root (86*) and Jonny Bairstow (71*) guiding the hosts to a thumping seven-wicket win over the Kiwis in the final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Monday. England were at their dominant best in the match. Though New Zealand set a challenging 296 runs to win, the English batters responded with some beautiful hitting, sealing the match by seven wickets and the series by margin of 3-0.
Chasing 296, England was not off the finest start, opener Alex Lees was run out for just 9 at the team's score of 17. Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope resumed the chase for England. Their promising stand was cut short at 34-runs after Crawley was dismissed for 25 by spinner Michael Bracewell after being caught by skipper Kane Williamson. From then on, Ollie Pope and Joe Root took complete control of England innings. The duo hit the bowlers around the park. Pope and Root continued their good run in the series, getting to their half-centuries.
The 134-run stand between the duo ended after Southee clean bowled Pope for 82 off 108 with 12 fours. With England 185/3, The duo of Root and Jonny Bairstow was at the crease. Root kept one end steady while Bairstow continued his explosive run in the second innings as well, bringing his half-century in just 30 balls.
The duo stitched a quickfire 111-run stand, earning their side a seven-wicket win, with Root (86*) and Bairstow scoring an explosive 71 off just 44 balls. Earlier in the third innings, New Zealand were bundled out for 326. The duo of Daryl Mitchell (56) and wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell (88*) once again shined for the Kiwis. Tom Latham also scored a valuable 76.
Spinner Jack Leach was the star for England with the ball, taking 5/66 while medium-pacer Matty Potts also shined with a brilliant 3/66. With this, New Zealand gained a 295-run lead, giving English a target of 296 runs to complete the clean sweep. In the second innings, England had scored 360/10. Jonny Bairstow struck a delightful 162 while debutant Jamie Overton stole the show with a brilliant 97, stitching a vital 241-run stand with Bairstow which revived England's fortunes in the match after Boult reduced them to 55/6 initially.
The pace duo of Trent Boult (4/104) and Tim Southee (3/100) shined for the Kiwis in the second innings. But at this point, England had gained a 31-run lead in the match. In the first innings, elected to bat first, New Zealand posted 329 runs on the board. The Mitchell-Blundell duo once again took Kiwis out of trouble, stitching a 120-run stand. Mitchell finished with 109 and Blundell scored 55. Captain Kane Williamson (31) and Tim Southee (33) posted other notable contributions.
Spinner Jack Leach stole the show in the first innings as well, taking 5/100. Stuart Broad also took a great 3/62. Jack Leach was adjudged as the 'Man of the Match' for his brilliant 10-wicket haul. Joe Root was named as the Man of the Series. He scored 396 runs in the series.
Brief Scores: England 360 and 296/3 in 54.2 overs (Joe Root 86*, Ollie Pope 82, Tim Southee 1/68) defeated New Zealand 329 and 326 (Tom Blundell 88*, Tom Latham 76, Jack Leach 5/66) by seven wickets. (ANI)
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