England vs New Zealand, Day 3: Report and key stats
England have the upper-hand heading into Day 5 of the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley. Resuming from 168/5, NZ paced their way to 326. Fifties from Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell helped the cause. Jack Leach shone for the hosts, as he clipped a five-for to sweep the Kiwi tail-enders. Chasing 296, England (183/2) need 113 runs to win this Test.
Leach, who claimed figures worth 5/100 in the first innings, was at the top of his game even at the latter stages. He reaped rewards off the turn on offer, scalping a mouth-dropping 5/66 in the second innings. Most notably, Leach recorded his first ten-wicket haul in a match (10/166). The slow left-arm orthodox has now raced to 92 Test scalps at 31.64.
According to ESPNcricinfo, Leach has become the first English spinner to take two five-wicket hauls in a home Test since 1974. Derek Underwood had attained the feat against Pakistan at Lord's.
Blundell belted youngster Matty Potts for boundaries at will. Later, the wicket-keeper batter ran a double off Leach to rack up his seventh Test fifty. Most notably, Blundell stayed put throughout as he compiled 88* off 161 deliveries (15 fours). His scores in this series read 14, 96, 106, 24, 55, and 88*. He now has 1,192 Test runs at 41.10.
Mitchell took his time before freeing up his arms. He struck a four toward backward point to bring up his seventh fifty in whites and third against England. Mitchell was out LBW by Potts but not before he compiled a 152-ball 56 (nine fours). His last six scores read 56, 109, 62*, 190, 108, and 13. He now has 941 Test runs at 62.73.
Mitchell has hammered 538 runs in this series while averaging a prolific 107.60. He struck three hundreds and two fifties. Mitchell has become the first visiting batter to score over 500 runs in a series involving three or fewer Tests in England.
Mitchell and Blundell fetched a 113-run stand among themselves for the sixth wicket in the second innings. They are only the fifth pair to post four 100-plus stands in a series in Test cricket. David Boon-Mark Waugh (Australia), Jack Hobbs-Herbert Sutcliffe (England), Vijay Hazare-Rusi Modi (India), and Mohammad Yousuf-Younis Khan (Pakistan) are the others to have attained the feat.
England lost Alex Lees (5) after the opener was run-out by the duo of Kane Williamson and Trent Boult. Michael Bracewell then tamed Zak Crawley, tempting the latter to smash a floated-up delivery outside off that was caught by Williamson at extra cover. Ollie Pope (81*) and Joe Root (55*) were unfazed by the early breakthroughs. The duo added 132* runs by stumps.