Ollie Pope and Joe Root’s unbeaten stand of 132 puts England in pursuit of yet another run-chase after the Kiwis were spun out by Headingley hero Jack Leach.
New Zealand began Day 4 168-5, with a leed of 137. both of their in-form batters, Daryll Mitchell(4) and Tom Blundel(5) at the crease. England was looking to dismiss them early, to get into the Kiwi’s tail.
Sam Billings also replaced Bairstow behind the stumps, as Ben Foakes tested positive for COVID.
But yet again, the two bright spots of the Kiwi’s batting, stood firm and dominated the first session.Embed from Getty Images
Matt Potts looked impressive again going past the bat on numerous occasions.Embed from Getty Images
But neither Mitchell nor Blundell were phased by any of it.Embed from Getty Images
Blundell and Mitchell began to score quickly after Drinks.
And Leach got a couple to go past the bat.Embed from Getty Images
He thought he had Mitchell LBW for 17, but DRS went against him, as the ball bounced too much.Embed from Getty Images
It was at this point that things were starting to agitate Ben Stokes, as Mitchell was toying with the bowlers.
The Blundell and Mitchell duo also went past 700 runs together for this Series.Embed from Getty Images
And the pair of them took New Zealand to Lunch at 254-5, with a lead of 223.
Stuart Broad almost had Blundell’s first ball after Lunch.Embed from Getty Images
The ball cannoned of his pads, and almost went onto the stumps. It was at this point, that you started to feel like it was going to be New Zealand’s day.
Blundell reached 50 with a fortunate outside edge.
Mitchell also brought up yet another 50.Embed from Getty Images
It was at this point, that you felt that the game was starting to drift away from England, but every time Stokes makes a bowling change, it turns out to be a masterstroke, and this time, it was Potts, who made the breakthrough with the big wicket of Mitchell, trapping him LBW for 56 at 274-6.Embed from Getty Images
Michael Bracewell came out with an intent to score.
But his cameo of nine was ended by Leach, at 291-7.
He soon had Tim Southee as his third scalp of the second innings at 305-8.Embed from Getty Images
And bizarrely got rid of Neil Wagner, when the left hand got an outside edge and the ball was trapped in between Billings’s pads, 305-9.
Blundell was left with no option but to attack.Embed from Getty Images
And Leach finally had his first 10-wicket haul in Tests by bowling out Trent Boult for 4 at 326.
This meant that England was set a target of 296, were we about to see another successful run-chase?
Alex Lees and Zak Crawley got England’s chase going with some streaky boundaries.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
But a miscommunication in the middle, ended the left-hander’s stay at the crease, with England 17-1.Embed from Getty Images
Crawley then started to find his timing.Embed from Getty Images
And Ollie Pope looked in fine touch at the other end.Embed from Getty Images
But Crawley’s overconfidence made him fall into Bracewell’s trap at 51-2.Embed from Getty Images
Pope got the scoreboard ticking.Embed from Getty Images
And so did Joe Root.Embed from Getty Images
He also played some outrageous shots off Wagner.
Pope got to 50 first.Embed from Getty Images
He also brought up his 100 partnership with Root.Embed from Getty Images
Before the Ex-Skipper brought up his fifty.Embed from Getty Images
England reached 183-2 at Stump’s, Requiring a further 113 runs to win. It seems as if this partnership between Root and Pope is taking the game away from England. The Yorkshireman is unbeaten on 55, while England’s new number three is 20 away from another hundred.
New Zealand will need early wickets to get back in this contest, at the moment, it is in England’s hands.
Can they make it a Series whitewash, or will New Zealand get one back?
Join us for Day 5 on World in Sport.