England vs NZ 3rd Test: Mitchell and Blundell help Kiwis recover on day one
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell again proved to be thorns in England’s favor as they helped New Zealand recover from a strange bout of misfortune and end the first day of the third and final Test on Thursday (June 24) for 225 runs Of. New Zealand struggled after electing to bat, with opener Tom Latham removed for a duck by Stuart Broad in the first over.
New Zealand were trailing 123-5 when Henry Nicholls fell in bizarre fashion just before tea, but Mitchell and Blundell led the fight with an unbroken century. Nicholls, who scored nearly 19 off 99 balls, started a drive off left-arm spinner Jack Leach, only to see the ball hit Mitchell’s bat at the non-striker’s end and Ricochet into Alex Lee’s hands. between.
Leach could hardly believe what had happened as he celebrated his second wicket and lbw opener Will Young for 20 off the first ball of the day. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, after not playing the second Test due to COVID-19, elected to bat first on a flat pitch, but England seized the initiative.
Broad removed Latham on the last ball of the first over, leaving enough momentum off the pitch to give Joe Root a struggling opener lead at second slip. New Zealand, trailing 2-0 after losing entertaining matches at Lord’s and Trent Bridge, held on after that setback but Young fell in the 13th over.
Williamson and Devon Conway attempted to take the game to England. The two went after Leach before lunch and in the 19th over, Williamson hit two fours off the spinner while Conway struck another to the bowler’s head. Broad made sure the inaugural season was England’s, however, when he dismissed Williamson for 31, getting just enough momentum off the pitch to take a simple catch for keeper Ben Fox to take the lead.
It could have been better for England as the spotless Broad got the inner edge of Conway’s bat, but Fox could not catch a brilliant diving catch. England debutant Jamie Overton produced quick pace after a nervous start and celebrated his maiden Test wicket when he bowled Conway on an inside edge for 26.
Daryl Mitchell (78*) and Tom Blundell (45*) lead the batting effort on day one at Headingley
hold on to the score | https://t.co/zN1pVZcpBi#ENGvNZ pic.twitter.com/aAfjiFn5aa
— BlackCaps (@BLACKCAPS) June 23, 2022
When Nicholls suffered one of the most brutal dismissals, England were elated and New Zealand’s decision to bat first seemed to be poor. But Mitchell (78) and Blundell (45) – who shared 195 and 236 at Lord’s and Trent Bridge – again proved to be hard work for England’s attack.
Mitchell was left on eight when England captain Ben Stokes opted not to review a potential lbw off Matthew Potts – replays showed he would have been out. And the 31-year-old took full advantage of his half-century by hitting a straight six off Leach.
England thought they had Blundell when he was stretched by a loose, wide ball off Root and was caught out – only for the New Zealander to review successfully. After a rain delay, Overton tried to break the stand, topping 90 mph, but New Zealand avoided further crashes and Mitchell eyed a third century of the series.
England are looking to win every match of the home series with at least three Tests for the first time since their 4-0 4-0 loss to India in 2011, while New Zealand are desperate to avoid four straight Test losses.
Brief scores: New Zealand 1st innings 225/5 in 90 overs (Daryl Mitchell batting 78, Tom Blundell batting 45; Stuart Broad 2/45, Jack Leach 2/75) vs England
(with Reuters inputs)