England on course for victory after Ollie Pope and Joe Root break the back of chase

·49 min read
England's Ollie Pope leads the chase. - PA
England's Ollie Pope leads the chase. - PA

It is free entry at Headingley and supporters will be wise to arrive early to make the most of Yorkshire’s generosity because the action might not last long with England in this kind of mood.

They need another 113 to whitewash New Zealand 3-0 and Yorkshire’s finest, Joe Root, is chugging along nicely with his improving young apprentice Ollie Pope in fine touch too. Coasting at 183 for two, England batted sensibly against the new ball before opening up in the last hour like world-beaters accustomed to knocking off a big fourth-innings total, rather than the side that started the series bottom of the Test championship.

Ordinarily a target of 296 would favour the bowling side, but this is the New England and it is Headingley too. Of the six scores of 296 or higher successfully chased in England, four have happened at Headingley.

With a quick outfield, mainly due to the vast square that stretches the entire width of the ground, runs can come quickly - and without a specialist spinner New Zealand are short of options when the ball softens.

Jack Leach’s first 10-wicket haul showed that decision up. There has been no swing in this innings and England hammered part-time spinner Michael Bracewell at six an over.

England's Jack Leach celebrates after taking five wickets during the fourth day of the third cricket test match between England and New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds, England, Sunday, June 26, 2022. - AP
England's Jack Leach celebrates after taking five wickets during the fourth day of the third cricket test match between England and New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds, England, Sunday, June 26, 2022. - AP

Root is on 55, focused and controlled as ever but audacious too, a reverse scoop for six off Neil Wagner the shot of the match. With Pope feeding off Root again and 81 not out, the pair adding 132, England strolled in the evening sunshine against a beaten-up New Zealand attack. Pope’s three fours in a row off Wagner in the final 10 minutes amplified the one-sided feel to it all.

England have a rejigged line-up with Sam Billings arriving in the early hours to replace Ben Foakes as England’s first ever Covid substitute, and arguably he strengthens the batting, if needed.

England lost openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, both self-inflicted losses but in differing ways. Lees was the victim of a mix-up. Both batsmen thought Crawley’s drive off Trent Boult had pierced the field and was heading for the fence so set off for an uncommitted single only for Kane Williamson to dive on the ball at cover.

Lees, the non-striker, tried to make it back but Williamson threw the ball in on the bounce, and Boult, running back smartly, whipped off the bails. Crawley’s awful form continued, when he spooned a catch to cover driving a ball that was too wide for the shot off Bracewell.

England batsman Alex Lees is run out by Trent Boult during day four of the third Test Match between England and New Zealand at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. - GETTY IMAGES
England batsman Alex Lees is run out by Trent Boult during day four of the third Test Match between England and New Zealand at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Williamson's mind was scrambled by the threat of Root, who signalled intentions with a reverse sweep first ball. Batting over to the off side he was struck on the pad twice in two balls by Southee, Williamson reviewed both not outs only for them to be clearly hitting outside the line. When Root middled the third the crowd appealed for the lbw. At least Williamson found it funny.

Leach is another player suddenly looking a foot taller, brimming with confidence. Ben Stokes has ensured he is involved early, bringing him on in the 13th over of the first innings and opening the bowling in the second. He has kept mid on and mid off up when batsmen have targeted the straight hit, and persevered with him, bowling 30 overs on day one. Leach responded by giving Stokes control, and bowling with more drift.

His 10 for 166 was only the second 10 taken by a spinner in a Headingley Test in 50 years and his team-mates stood back, and allowed him his moment leading them off the field, holding the ball up to the crowd.

It was Matt Potts who was the outstanding seamer again. He barely bowls a bad ball and runs in hard all day. Thick set, with a build like a squaddie, he is a willing foot soldier for Stokes but offers more than just hard work. He swings it both ways with good zip off the pitch. He is going to be the find of the summer.

Potts’s three for 66 took him to 14 wickets in his debut series at 23.28 and he broke open the New Zealand innings after a wicketless, tense first session with the Test on the line.

In his first over of the afternoon from the Kirkstall Lane End, he had Tom Blundell leg before only for him to overturn on review but four balls later beat Daryl Mitchell on the inside edge, moving across his stumps and playing to leg.

England bowler Matthew Potts celebrates the wicket of Tom Blundell, which is overturned after review during day four of the third Test Match between England and New Zealand at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. - GETTY IMAGES
England bowler Matthew Potts celebrates the wicket of Tom Blundell, which is overturned after review during day four of the third Test Match between England and New Zealand at Headingley on June 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Mitchell’s career has taken off on this tour, repaying his punt to leave the IPL early and arrive in England for more preparation. He had a stroke of luck when Henry Nicholls’ positive Covid test landed him a place in the first Test. Three matches later he has set a new run-making record for a New Zealander in an England series - 538 in six innings at an average of 107.60 - with three hundreds and another fifty here; 56 off 152 balls.

He has enjoyed a bit of fortune with dropped catches but his batting has been eye-catching, pulling and cutting strongly but also hitting sweetly down the ground, especially against Leach.

Mitchell and Blundell don’t just sound like an architecture firm but have also provided New Zealand’s only sturdy foundations, scoring 724 runs in the series together. They are just the fifth pair to share four century stands in a Test series, batting together for 236.1 overs, the equivalent of almost three days of cricket.

New Zealand’s last five wickets fell for 56. Bracewell was caught at deep square leg trying to take on Leach just after hitting him for six and Southee was bowled by a straight ball. Leach had four when Wagner was caught by the thighs of Billings, who missed the edge, but juggled the ball in his body before plucking it out from between his legs. His fifth wicket to finish off the second innings came by clean bowling Boult.

England vs New Zealand, third Test, day four - as it happened:

06:55 PM

CLOSE: ENG 183/2

England are blowing New Zealand away in the fourth innings for the third successive Test by virtue of a resourceful and sparkling 132-run partnership between Joe Root and Ollie Pope. Earlier Zak Crawley's awful series continued when he flashed away to make 25, his coat always hanging by a shoogly thread, having barbecued Alex Lees.

Jack Leach and Matty Potts were terrific with the ball in the afternoon session and Stokes will make it three out of three as full-time captain if England's last eight wickets can make the 113 needed.

Nick Hoult's report will be here imminently.

06:51 PM

OVER 39: ENG 183/2 (Pope 81 Root 55)     

Fifty for Joe Root when Bracewell drags one down on leg stump. What a pie. Root shovels it wide of leg slip for four. The next ball is also short and he smacks it for four, striking short leg in the process.

Root laps a single off the penultimate ball and Pope farms the strike with a cuff off the pads.

06:48 PM

OVER 38: ENG 173/2 (Pope 80 Root 46)   

Wagner comes round the wicket to Pope who flicks a single off middle stump down to fine leg. The new angle of attack does make Root play and miss when the ball pitches and swings away. By walking across his stumps in premeditation, Root exposes leg stump so Wagner fires it in but the batsman is quick enough to get his bat round and flicks it for a single. The target is down to 123.

06:43 PM

OVER 37: ENG 171/2 (Pope 79 Root 45)   

Bracewell comes round the wicket, changing the line. Root uses the angle across him to reverse paddle for a single. Bracewell adjusts, sticks one on Pope's pads and he pats it away for a single. Root shapes for another reverse sweep and though he doesn't connect, the target is reduced by four as the ball burrows beneath his bat and evades Blundell. Four byes go in the book. Root ties himself in a knot going for his third reverse sweep but gets away with it. This is prime milking as they run a single.

06:39 PM

OVER 36: ENG 163/2 (Pope 77 Root 43) 

Time for Wagnerball to counter Bazball after a change of ball? He does have the men back for the short stuff but retains enough over on the other side to slant deliveries across, too.

Pope climbs into the short one and pulls it perfectly for four to bring up the hundred partnership. Wagner goes across and Pope flashes hard at a drive and it flies off the edge for four down to third man. Make that three in three with an off-drive from the highest echelon. Touch of Sachin there. NZ's attempt to use their traditional brakeman Wagner has come off the rails. Pope works two through midwicket to make it 14 off the over.

06:34 PM

OVER 35: ENG 149/2 (Pope 63 Root 43) 

One reason Mitchell is standing so wide is to stop the reverse sweep but he would have to be electric to get his hands on one that Root skelps wickedly. It hits him and shoots away for four. Bracwewell may be a rookie but he can turn it and does so when ragging one into Pope's pads but the batsman was outside the line, having shuffled well across.

When England pass halfway in the chase, the trumpeter plays the chorus of Livin' on a Prayer and the well-refreshed crowd joins in.

06:29 PM

OVER 34: ENG 142/2 (Pope 61 Root 38)

Conway, man of the series last year, hasn't given up and chases down Pope's square drive and stops it crossing the rope. They run three. The partnership is now 91 and the target down to 153.

06:25 PM

OVER 33: ENG 139/2 (Pope 58 Root 38)

Bracewell returns and has a field set for the bad ball, forcing him to bowl outside off, very wide. Root whips the straight one for a single and reverse sweeps another for two after Pope cut a short one for a single.

06:22 PM

OVER 32: ENG 135/2 (Pope 57 Root 35)

Southee is back for an 11th over and it's a quiet one for runs. Root flicks a single off his pads with ease but Pope is troubled by the master's classic attack outside off, angling in and nibbling away from his attempted drive.

06:17 PM

OVER 31: ENG 134/2 (Pope 57 Root 34)

Pope cuts for two through point. Sad to see Boult resort to banging it, He needs a rest and they ought to put Mitchell on if they don't trust Bracewell and Williamson does not wish to risk his back. TWo more short ones are turned for singles.

06:12 PM

OVER 30: ENG 130/2 (Pope 54 Root 33)           

Southee tests Root on the pull and again he rolls his wrists on  it and collars it for four. The run rate is ridiculous. Root tucks a single off his hip and the Pope plays a lovely dab for two.

Southee appeals for a leg-before again. When it comes to the crunch of risking their last review, though, he raises his palm, to indicate it was too high. Which it was.

06:08 PM

OVER 29: ENG 122/2 (Pope 53 Root 28)         

Root pulls two down to long leg and Williamson decides to put a leg gully in to reinforce that area as Boult comes round the wicket to the right-hander. It's a novel tactic for Root and you can't say they've run out of ideas but with little swing, flat pitch and a novice spinner, not just at Test level but any level, one wonders how they are going to take a wicket ... save for an unforced error.

06:02 PM

OVER 28: ENG 118/2 (Pope 52 Root 25)         

Fifty for Pope with a Harrow drive, throwing his hands at the returning Southee's channel ball and inside-edging it down to fine leg for his ninth boundary.

06:00 PM

OVER 27: ENG 112/2 (Pope 46 Root 25)       

Root, watchfully, waits for Boult to give him some width after nibbling at one down the corridor and reproaching himself. When he does drive it squirts off the inside edge and reruns a single into the onside.

05:54 PM

OVER 26: ENG 111/2 (Pope 46 Root 23)       

The Pope and the Admiral. His Holiness takes England to 111 with a flashing square drive for four, Wagner again looking for looseness. There was an element of chance about that particular stroke but he nailed it. Wagner asks the same question all over and Pope drives them all but cannot pierce the covers.

05:50 PM

OVER 25: ENG 107/2 (Pope 42 Root 23)     

Pope punches two off one that shapes in through cover then pulls for a single. It went up for a long part of its journey but came to earth about 10ft from Wagner who makes a splendid, diving save. Boult comes round the wicket but first on comes a groundsman with the tamper to pound out the loose soil. He really gives it some welly.

05:46 PM

OVER 24: ENG 104/2 (Pope 39 Root 23)     

Maiden from Wagner, still sticking to the angle, left-arm over and across the right-hander. Root seems to have all the time in the world. England's new shirts have holes in them, about five of them, to ventilate the small of the back.

Trent Boult is coming back on for Bracewell. They have consistently come in with one bowling option too few. Considering Williamson took three wickets in 2015 in Leeds, he must be incapable of bowling these days because he hasn't even tried an over.

05:40 PM

OVER 23: ENG 104/2 (Pope 39 Root 23)   

England milk two singles and a two off Bracewell.

Play will continue until 6.49pm after yesterday's shortened day.

05:39 PM

OVER 22: ENG 100/2 (Pope 36 Root 22)   

Root defends the third, fourth and fifth ball of Wagner;s over, all of them slanted across him, but then strides across, and fetches it a yard outside off stump to reverse ramp it for a steepling six. They want him to play a rash shot. Instead he plays the most outrageous one in his considerable armoury. Cue much spluttering from the usual sources who will soon be writing "Test cricket is ruining Test cricket". Split the codes? Balderdash.

05:33 PM

OVER 21: ENG 93/2 (Pope 36 Root 16) 

Another elegant shot from Pope even though the off-break stays low, he leans into it and smears it past point for four. Bracewell restores some order with five dot balls but there's always a gimme because it's a new discipline for him.

05:28 PM

OVER 20: ENG 89/2 (Pope 32 Root 16) 

Wagner has two slips and a gully and is slanting it across the right-handers, trying to elicit the drive. Pope closes the bat face too early to an inswinger and pops the ball back up the pitch, not close enough to Wagner to pouch. They run a single.

05:25 PM

OVER 19: ENG 88/2 (Pope 31 Root 16)

Contrasting reverse sweeps: Pope loses his balance to tickle a single, Root middles his, his feet as rooted as 12 inch tent pegs. The final ball of the over is a beauty that arcs in, goes on straight and spits up, catching the shoulder of Root's bat. Mitchell is still standing too wide and watches as it flies past him for four.

05:21 PM

OVER 18: ENG 79/2 (Pope 30 Root 8)         

Touch of swing from the replacement ball and Root uses it off the extra delivery following a no-ball to ease it through midwicket for four. You can't bowl on middle to Root in the form he has been in for 17 months.

05:14 PM

OVER 17.2: ENG 74/2 (Pope 30 Root 4)         

Wagner replaces Southee drives his second ball into he covers where it's fielded and Williamson immediately asks the umpires to change it. This time it fails the gauges and while they choose a replacement, on come the drinks.

05:13 PM

OVER 17: ENG 74/2 (Pope 30 Root 4)       

Bracewell loses his line and drifts too far wide of off stump. Pope leans back and slaps it derisively through cover point for four.  Another four comes when he slashes at a cut and top edges it between slip and keeper. There was no catching that unless Mitchell had been in Blundell's pocket. They never escape one another ... bat together, field together.

Ah, that's sublime from Pope. He uses his feet after exchanging singles to cream an off-drive for four. Smoked it.

05:08 PM

OVER 16: ENG 60/2 (Pope 17 Root 3)       

Going for the hat-trick Southee pins Root outside the line once more and yelps an appeal, much to the mirth of the crowd who go up with him. Twice bitten, Williamson wisely doesn't want to know.

05:03 PM

OVER 15: ENG 59/2 (Pope 16 Root 3)     

Pope walks across to whip a single through midwicket, Root paddles two down to the sweeper then hits short leg on the knee with his attempt at an encore.

05:01 PM

OVER 14: ENG 56/2 (Pope 15 Root 1)     

NZ burn a review in desperation when Southee hits Root miles outside the line and then double the damage by doing the same when the next ball also hits him outside the line. Root gets a big stride in, puts that big dog outside the line of off but NZ can't resist the temptation of a punt.

Root gets bat on the third and the crowd hollers 'Howzat!' Even Williamson smiles at that.

04:58 PM

NZ review

Root lbw b Southee Second one in successive balls. The first was so spurious there was no piint to it. And this one is daft too. Two reviews burnt in two deliveries. NOT OUT.

04:56 PM

OVER 13: ENG 56/2 (Pope 15 Root 1)     

Enter Root and he tries to reverse sweep the first ball but finds slip then uses his strike rotator, a midwicket flick, to get off the mark. Bracewell tosses one up for Pope to drive but unlike Crawley, who isn't as tall, he hits it a fraction off the ground. Crawley hit his on the up.  He smears it through cover.

04:49 PM


Crawley c Williamson b Bracewell 25  Poor judgment from Crawley who saw Williamson put himself there for that very shot and Bracewell, with no disguise, invites him to drive the first ball of the over, using flight, tossing it above the eyeline. They didn't even have to cover the man-trap with leaves. It was out in the open.  FOW 51/2

04:49 PM

OVER 12: ENG 47/1 (Pope 11 Crawley 25)   

His Holiness recreates one of those lovely cover drives from Nottingham, creaming Southee's off-cutter to the fence. Southee drags his length back and gives it a rip, making it jag back in and strike Pope on the thigh and then screams an appeal when he hits Pope on the pads as he tried to fiddle a glance down to fine leg. Again he was the only one to go up. It was always slanting down.

04:45 PM

OVER 11: ENG 47/1 (Pope 7 Crawley 25)   

Pope plays outside-in to work a single off a fourth stump line for a single. Crawley is hit on the toe outside the line (no turn yet) when trying to slog sweep but goes again next ball and nails it in front of square for four.

04:41 PM

OVER 10: ENG 41/1 (Pope 6 Crawley 20) 

Pope whisks two off middle and leg, nice shot. Once the lacquer comes off and the ball swings more, both Boult and Southee will be even harder to handle. But they must be close to exhaustion. Southee is targeting the lbw, on the grounds that just a tiny bit of movement off the seam might make Pope miss it and pin him in front. But Pope likes it there and plays an elegant on drive for four.

Time for Bracewell, AKA 'The Beast', more for his white-ball batting than his red-ball bowling.

04:36 PM

OVER 9: ENG 35/1 (Pope 0 Crawley 20) 

Crawley might be horribly out of nick, with his mind scrambled, but you can't bowl short to him. Boult does and he pulls it handsomely for four. The next ball is wide and he throws his hands at a drive, wedging it over cover for four. Risky, but it seems he has fatalistically decided to live by the sword. That approach brings him two more, driving twice on the up for a third and fourth four from the over. Swing will mean he dies by the sword if he keeps playing that shot. But so far so good  even if it is seat of the pants stuff.

04:32 PM

OVER 8: ENG 19/1 (Pope 0 Crawley 4) 

Southee yells out a big appeal for leg-before when he swings one in, using that three-quarter grip, to pin Crawley on the shin. No one supported him as it was heading down. He's bowling beautifully, though, and the fault in Crawley's technique that Mark Butcher spotted, that he is driving with the heel of his front foot grounded and not the ball of his foot and toes, making it impossible for him to bend the knee, leaves him horribly exposed when playing that shot.

He escapes being bowled by a gnat's when he has a big swish at an inswinger that gates him but just vaults the stumps. NZ are asking for a ball change repeatedly. It is seaming about but they want one that swings.

04:25 PM

OVER 7 : ENG 18/1 (Pope 0 Crawley 4)

Probing maiden from Boult, naggingly accurate and threatening both edges with its movement. Only one scoring opportunity for Pope with one short enough to cut but too close to his body to get off the square.

04:23 PM

OVER 6: ENG 18/1 (Pope 0 Crawley 4)

Bagchi here. Thanks, Pippa. That was a magnificent take by Boult on the run to gather the throw and dishevel the timbers. And Lees, a Yorkie, on his former home ground, was utterly barbecued by Crawley with his 'Yes, no!' call. There was a time when a Yorkshire crowd would get on a player's back for that. Pope misses out on getting off the mark when he tries to tickle Southee off his pads but jogs a leg-bye nonetheless.

04:18 PM

OVER 5: ENG 17/1 (Pope 0 Crawley 4)

You have to give credit to New Zealand there, superb fielding to dismiss Lees. Crawley hits his best shot of the match but it's at the expensive of his colleague. Williamson is lurking in the covers, he lobs it back to Boult off one knee who easily takes the bails off.

04:16 PM


Lees run out Boult 9

Ah no, not what the Headingley faithful were after! After sending Crawley back on the opening delivery when he went searching for a quick single, it's Lees who wraps up the over by trudging back to the dressing room following a successful New Zealand run out.

04:11 PM

OVER 4: ENG 17/0 (Lees 9 Crawley 4)

Lees much more measured in his approach than his under-fire opening colleague. Best of the bunch from that set of six is drive down through backward point for four.

04:07 PM

OVER 3: ENG 13/0 (Lees 5 Crawley 4)

Boult keeping the English opener on his toes, outswinger followed by an inswinger.

Crawley, cramped up for most of the over, chases the width on the final delivery. He just couldn't help himself, could he? It's a heart in mouth moment for a second as a leading edge sends the ball flying over the slip corden to the boundary.

04:02 PM

OVER 2: ENG 9/0 (Lees 5 Crawley 0)

The Headingley crowd in full voice for their team as Southee opens his spell round the wicket. Four leg byes chip away at the England total.

Better from Southee forcing Lees onto the defensive. He negotiates the rest of the over, which means Crawley will reunite with his old mate Boult...

03:58 PM

OVER 1: ENG 5/0  (Lees 5 Crawley 0)

The players are back out. 41 overs left to enjoy today, what can England produce?

Trent Boult has the ball in hand, against Alex Lees, a batter he has enjoyed plenty of success against so far. Here we go...

Lees, unsurprisingly, looks unconvincing, a nervous smile creeping across his face when a large nick takes the ball safely down to the boundary rope. A single wraps up the over.

03:53 PM

The Leach show

After an indifferent Test at Trent Bridge, Jack Leach has delivered an emphatic statement here at Headingley. He becomes the first England spinner with two five-fors in a home Test since Derek Underwood against Pakistan in 1974.

03:43 PM

England need 296 to win

I picked up the baton at the right time. After all the hard graft from England and my colleague Rob, I get to spend time rejoicing in Leach's efforts. No wiping that smile off his face, that's for sure.

He's taken his first ten-wicket haul in Tests. 5-66 to wrap up New Zealand's second innings and 10-166 for the match. The Western Terrace rises for their hero as he leads England off the field for tea.

England need 296 to win, it's going to be another cracking finish to match between these two teams.

Jack Leach takes the applause for his efforts - AP
Jack Leach takes the applause for his efforts - AP

03:37 PM


Boult b Leach 4

Bowled him! Leach not only has his man, but he has ten wickets to his name! What an effort from England's spinner

Boult tries to follow Blundell's lead in going after the England attack. He gets four off the first but he mistimes his shot completely on the second delivery and the bails come flying off. New Zealand 326 all out, with Tom Blundell the last man standing, unbeaten on 88.

03:34 PM

OVER 105: NZ 322/9 (Blundell 88 Boult 0)

Potts continues, Blundell defends the first and then decides at this point in proceedings that attack is the better option. It's a four through backward point, a missed flick off his hip next before then a cheeky ramped shot up and away to the boundary. Blundell enjoying himself here.

03:32 PM

OVER 104: NZ 314/9 (Blundell 80 Boult 0)

Thanks Rob, here's that Billings' catch, with the help of his legs and pads.

England need just one more wicket to wrap this up.... and they so nearly have it!

Dropped! Boult feathers an edge behind  but Root cannot snaffle it, despite it flying to his favoured right side. Leach looks on from afar.

03:24 PM

OVER 103: NZ 314/9 (Blundell 80 Boult 0)         

Potts continues. Great spell this of seven overs.  Blundell charges Potts as they  drop the field back to give him a single off the fifth ball and flays it with a horizontal bat through cover for four.

To keep him at that end, Potts bounces him but it is called wide. He does keep him down that end eventually but only by England not giving chase to a push through the covers and letting it go for four more.

Pippa Field will take you through to tea.

03:19 PM

OVER 102: NZ 305/9 (Blundell 72 Boult 0)       

England have a slip, leg slip and short leg in for Wagner who is beaten when trying to cut off the back foot and the ball stays low, beating the bottom edge. Leach bookends the over with a second wicket, caught crazily but effectively.

03:17 PM


Wagner c Billings b Leach 0  Billings ends an eventful over by catching Wagner between his knees after it shot off the edge, hit him in the belly and he slapped his knees together to get the rebound.  FOW 305/9

03:16 PM

Umpire review     

Wagner c Billings b Leach He caught it with his legs. But did he hit it?

03:11 PM


Southee b Leach 2  Brilliant. Got him with the slider. Southee played for spin but it stayed true, skidded on and knocks back middle. It then ricochets into Billings shoulder. That smarts!  FOW 305/8

03:11 PM

OVER 101: NZ 305/7 (Blundell 72 Southee 2)       

Now Blundell charges Potts and is surprised by its length. Far shorter than when he premeditated it. He swipes so hard he almost knocks himself off his feet.

03:09 PM

OVER 100: NZ 304/7 (Blundell 72 Southee 1)       

Leach beats Blundell with a Leachpeach, flighted but quick, it dips, pitches and rips past the edge. Blundell takes on the sweep, something he had left for Mitchell before and fillets it off the bottom edge very fine for four.

03:08 PM

OVER 99: NZ 300/7 (Blundell 68 Southee 1)       

Blundell brings up the 300 with a defensive push, opening the face to lace it through point. He has scored more runs with defensive shots this series than anyone bar Mitchell. England, of course, don't play defensive shots so it's not a fair comparison ...

03:01 PM

OVER 98: NZ 299/7 (Blundell 67 Southee 1)     

Leach smiles when Root ostensibly drops a catch at first slip offered by Southee. He had moved finer and it flew at him. He did pretty well, all things being considered, to get his hands to it and stop it from bruising his kneecap.

02:58 PM

OVER 97: NZ 297/7 (Blundell 66 Southee 0)     

Blundell moves into a higher gear, late cutting Potts for four wide of the slips and then  hustles two from a legside tuck.

Mr Hyde, what have you done to Dr Blundell? After 135 balls of judicious batting, he has a massive yahoo at the last ball which buzzed past the edge as he gave it the kitchen sink and missed.

England's Zak Crawley reacts after taking a catch to dismiss New Zealand's Michael Bracewell - LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
England's Zak Crawley reacts after taking a catch to dismiss New Zealand's Michael Bracewell - LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

02:53 PM

OVER 96: NZ 291/7 (Blundell 60 Southee 0)   

The fall of the wicket summons the drinks waiters into service halfway through Leach's over, which almost ends with another when Southee plinks his drive just short of Potts at mid-off. NZ lead by 260.

02:50 PM


Bracewell c Crawley b Leach 9  Six, dot, out. Bracewell, trying to push the lead higher as quickly as possible, pumped the first ball of the over into the stands at long on but when he goes for it again, Leach bowls it quicker and the left-hander drags it high into the legside. Crawley takes the catch two yards in from the fence at deep backward square.  FOW 291/7

02:47 PM

OVER 95: NZ 285/6 (Blundell 60 Bracewell 3)   

Bracewell gets away by pushing what he thought would be a single through point. But it hits the crease of the adjacent pitch, jumps out of the block hole and eludes Leach. They run three.

02:45 PM

OVER 94: NZ 280/6 (Blundell 58 Bracewell 0) 

Maiden for Leach to Blundell, making him play on the front foot when he prefers the back. Pulling him forward, getting him in that groove, is the web Leach is trying to weave.

02:41 PM

OVER 93: NZ 280/6 (Blundell 59 Bracewell 0) 

Blundell flicks a single off his pads and the left-handed Bracewell plays out five dot balls. Potts has been impressive both as a wicket-taking threat but also a run-miser from a far from negative line. His figures are 19-5-37-3.

02:39 PM

Admission to Headingley tomorrow will be free of charge

But you will need to book. Click here to get in the queue. 

02:35 PM

OVER 92: NZ 279/6 (Blundell 58 Bracewell 0)

Mitchell ends his series with the bat having scored 538 runs at an average of 107.6. He began the tour with a Test average of 40.30 from nine Tests and ends it with 62.73 from 12.

For the second time in three overs Leach gets one to grip and rip, Blundell edges it and it flies between Root and Billings again and goes for four. They hadn't closed the stable door and moved Root closer.

02:30 PM

OVER 91: NZ 274/6 (Blundell 53 Bracewell 0)

Looked dead but Potts was wide on the crease and because Blundell lost his balance and fell towards point, it blurred the point of impact which was closer to leg stump than middle. DRS, having reprieved Mitchell, now saves Blundell.  But it can't save Mitchell a second time and Potts has his just deserts after some very probing spells today. The stand is broken at 113.  NZ lead by 243.

02:26 PM


Mitchell lbw b Potts 56  No bat, it nipped back and hit him in front of middle and leg with his bat stuck for a moment the wrong side of his front pad.  FOW 274/6 

02:25 PM

NZ review

Mitchell lbw b Potts  If he didn't hit it, it has to be plumb.

02:23 PM


Yes, ball tracking suggests it was missing leg stump by a coat of varnish.

02:22 PM

NZ review

Blundell lbw b Potts  Don't think he hit it. Did it do too much?

02:21 PM

OVER 90: NZ 273/5 (Mitchell 56 Blundell 52)

Blundell drives a single off Leach through cover. He likes to sit deep and play off the back foot but he has been tidy off the front foot and when going up on his toes all series. Mitchell sweeps hard for four.

02:18 PM

OVER 89: NZ 268/5 (Mitchell 52 Blundell 51)     

Mitchell pushes forward and edges. Broad's hands go on to his head as the ball drops 18 inches in front of first slip and scuttles under him for four to bring up the fourth Double Ell century partnership of the series.

Mitchell racks up another half century when he opens the face to dab four through third man. He just keeps rollin' along.

02:14 PM

OVER 88: NZ 260/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 51)   

And Leach draws the edge off Blundell. Root, standing  wide between first and second slip, is beaten on the left hand. They run two and that's Blundell's half-century, the third time he has breached 50 this series. It's turning square.

02:10 PM

OVER 87: NZ 258/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 49   

Blundell continues to defend Broad with lovely soft hands and an angled bat, keeping his hands meticulously on the plane of virtue. He takes a single off a defensive push and Broad ends the over cursing his lick when he does tempt Mitchell to play at the wobbles-seamer that straightens and whooshes past the edge. Time for Jack Leach.

02:06 PM

OVER 86: NZ 257/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 48)                           

Blundell plays tip and run to cover and Mitchell channels Brigadier Block to kill the new ball three times and leaves the other two. He has been a pleasing blend of Rahul Dravid and Kevin Pietersen all tour.

01:59 PM

OVER 85: NZ 256/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 47)                           

Blundell inside edges a drive on to his back foot as his momentum carried on taking him forward, forcing him to hop back in a bit of a flap to prod it away from the stumps. Blundell extends a defensive to steer a single into the offside before Broad nips one back into Mitchell and hits him flush on the box.

01:55 PM

OVER 84: NZ 255/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 46)                           

Vision dreams of passion ... It's Matty Potts and his tight lines after a wayward first ball that he slants across Blundell. The best four are right on the money outside off but the last ball is again speared across and on to the pads. Blundell fends it off his hip for a single.

01:49 PM

OVER 83: NZ 254/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 45)                         

Thirty overs in that morning session, by virtue of that quickfire Leach-Root passage. Now Stuart Broad has new ball in hand and a mission to make the first breakthrough of the day. The trumpeter is back at it. Mitchell defends a couple and leaves one before wearing the fourth ball, delivered from wide of the crease, on the pads. Two more leaves complete the over.

01:11 PM

And if you don't have Sky ... try this

Here's the latest episode of the Vaughany & Tuffers CC, fresh off the, er, press. In this week's edition of the Telegraph podast, the three amigos chat with Marcus Trescothick, among other delights. You can listen here or download on iTunes, Spotify and all other good (and bad) podcast providers.

01:09 PM

LUNCH: NZ 254/5, lead by 223

The two perennial thorns in England's so far side this summer have done it again, seeing off everything England threw at them to extend New Zealand's lead and their chances of victory. Jack Leach and Matthew Potts have both bowled very well, a little lucklessly as has been the case throughout their Test careers to date. Play resumes at 1.40pm after Jimmy Anderson's first Sky masterclass, which, I urge you to watch on their YouTube channel in the coming days if you don't have Sky.

01:05 PM

OVER 82: NZ 254/5 (Mitchell 44 Blundell 45)                         

England will squeeze one more over in and Potts has the honour. Mitchell Harrow drives for a single. Some swing there that caught the inside edge. Big inswing too for his yorker to Blundell but the well-set batsman whisks it off his toes for four through midwicket. Time for lunch.

NZ lead by 223 and these two have put on 93 in yet another wonderful partnership.

01:01 PM

OVER 81: NZ 249/5 (Mitchell 43 Blundell 41)                       

Blundell crouches lower for the new ball as if he wants his eyes perfectly aligned to a specific spot on the sightscreen. Broad starts with an attractive line down the corridor and Blundell leaves the first two. The next ball is tighter and whistles past the edge. Blundell, though, held his hands to an off-stump line and does not follow it. Broad goes wider and thinks he pins Blundell in front of off stump. Stokes bellows his appeal, waving both arms imploringly ... but the batsman almost hit the cover off it. Maiden.

12:55 PM

OVER 80: NZ 249/5 (Mitchell 43 Blundell 41)                       

Leach, who couldn't buy a maiden at Trent Bridge, rattles off another, a ninth from 23 overs. Not much turn now. I wonder if he will share the new ball again? Broad has first dibs.

12:53 PM

OVER 79: NZ 249/5 (Mitchell 43 Blundell 41)                     

Root has to pick up a biscuit wrapper that distracts the batsman as it blows across his vision. Do we still call people litter louts? I think it became litter bugs for a while. Louts is better, I think.

After five dot balls, Blundell comes down the track to whip two through midwicket.

NZ lead by 219 and the partnership is now 88.

12:50 PM

OVER 78: NZ 247/5 (Mitchell 43 Blundell 39)                     

Maiden for Leach to Mitchell, which shows that the batsman has regained his composure. The speed with which England are reeling off these overs of spin must make the head, er, reel.

12:48 PM

OVER 77: NZ 247/5 (Mitchell 43 Blundell 39)         

A bit of imminent interval fever strikes as Mitchell follows Root's slider and fishes at it. No edge but no' but just. Out comes the reverse sweep to a ball that bounces more than he thought and it hits him on the biceps. Next he fiddles one round the corner, but, surprised again by the bounce, pops it over short leg. They run a single and he will give his head a shake. Ah, no, it's contagious. Blundell dances down the track, Root holds it back a touch and the batsman spoons a drive just short of mid-on.

12:44 PM

OVER 76: NZ 246/5 (Mitchell 42 Blundell 39)                   

At this rate they should manage to make the new ball before lunch. Leach is using both flight and lack of it to keep these two quiet, skidding the last ball on to Blundell who gets his bat down quickly. On Friday I thought Mitchell would be a shoo-in for Lawrence Booth as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year for 2023. I think Blundell might well join him.

12:42 PM

OVER 75: NZ 245/5 (Mitchell 41 Blundell 39)                   

Mitchell's followthrough when he plays the lofted drive is a thing of wonder, it goes all around the dial from seven o'clock to 11 and he holds the pose with a vertical bat until he has seen where ut has landed. He shows it off here after clobbering Root over midwicket for four. No fielder down there. He uses his feet to the next one to harpoon another boundary, this time though the offside.

12:38 PM

OVER 74: NZ 236/5 (Mitchell 32 Blundell 39)           

England are rattling through the overs of spin to get the rate up and, more pertinently, to allow them to take the new ball after their Sunday dinner. Blundell picks the slider and bunts it for a single, Mitchell pinches the strike with a cover drive off Leach for one more.

12:36 PM

OVER 73: NZ 234/5 (Mitchell 31 Blundell 38)                 

Root is over the wicket to the right-handers and Mitchell reverse sweeps the first two for four. The first of them was pretty straightforward, the second far from it as Root pushed it wider and it hit Mitchell's glove then tricked on to his bat which kept coming round and knocked it between Crawley, who had run from slip to leg slip and Athletic Club de Bilbo.

12:33 PM

OVER 72: NZ 224/5 (Mitchell 22 Blundell 38)                 

Mitchell sweeps for a single, Blundell scythes a cut for another and Mitchell adds a third using a dabby glide off Leach. Time for a spell of Joe Root after the Overton experiment brought no reward.

12:31 PM

OVER 71: NZ 221/5 (Mitchell 19 Blundell 37)               

This seems like a waste of Overton who looks better when he pitches it up. Blundell punches a single on his toes into the offside, Mitchell watches a wide bouncer soar over his head and then also gets up on his toes to poke a single through point. Overton goes again, targeting Blundell's body but he has enough time to pirouette and pull for four, very fine off the bottom edge.

12:24 PM

OVER 70: NZ 214/5 (Mitchell 18 Blundell 32)               

Leach has been bowling well at Mitchell and continues to do so against Blundell, varying his pace with a dart and following it next ball with one that hangs in the air. There was no drift for him at Trent Bridge but he is harnessing the breeze expertly here, like Ashley Mallett and the Freemantle Doctor. He just loves Leeds. Who doesn't? ALAW etc.

12:19 PM

OVER 69: NZ 213/5 (Mitchell 18 Blundell 31)             

Now Mitchell has made 500, driving a single off Overton through cover. The Surrey paceman bangs the next ball in to Blundell who swivels and hammers it for four on the pull. The grass is dry and abrasive and grazes Bairstow's hand as he tried to claw it back from the rope. Off he goes to have it dressed.  The partnership climbs to 52, the lead to 182.

12:17 PM

OVER 68: NZ 206/5 (Mitchell 17 Blundell 25)             

Close but no Havana for Jack Leach who is bowling very well, varying his pace, luring Mitchell forward and, above all, turning it. That one skidded on and almost gulled Mitchell who has made 499 runs this series. Amazing what the captain's confidence can do for a player's.

12:14 PM


It was going over. Hit him on the knee roll in front of middle but he got a big stride in.

12:13 PM

NZ review

Mitchell lbw b Leach  Long way down but other than that looked good.

12:13 PM

OVER 67: NZ 206/5 (Mitchell 17 Blundell 25)           

The short stuff isn't working for Jamie O so far. Blundell pulls for a single, Mitchell tucks one off his hip. When he bowls full, though, he gets one to nip back a mile. Two bouncers follow, one of them deemed a wide so Overton comes round the wicket, ratchets it up to 89mph and Blundell defends it off his ribs.

Is 'Jamie O' any relation to Harry O, when the Fugitive became a cop.

12:04 PM

OVER 66: NZ 203/5 (Mitchell 15 Blundell 24)           

Leach with a bona fide peach that arcs in, pitches on off as Mitchell scissors his bat down, grips, rips, whistles past the edge and keeps fizzing, beating Billings and scuttling away for four byes.

Astonishing amount of turn. Something to ponder over drinks. NZ lead by 172

12:02 PM

OVER 65: NZ 199/5 (Mitchell 15 Blundell 19)         

Not quite there for Overton. The short one is not working so far, sits up and begs and Blundell, though the line means he can't free his arms fully, pivots and pulls it for four. Blundell again goes up en pointe to prod a single through cover and extend the lead to 168.

11:59 AM

OVER 64: NZ 193/5 (Mitchell 15 Blundell 19)         

If there's one thing we've learned about Daryl Mitchell it is that he loves his broom and looks better sweeping in orthodox fashion that the reverse. Here he tucks into Leach with the former and laps it behind square for four. The crowd is a bit flat, only two pints in. Jonny Bairstow conducts the Western Terrace in a rendition of Can't Take My Eyes off You with it's YJB lyrics and dubious assertion.

11:56 AM

OVER 63: NZ 189/5 (Mitchell 11 Blundell 19)         

Jamie Overton is on in a double change and starts with some genuine floaty filth sprayed on to Blundell's pads. In a flick of a wrist it flies for four. Overton ups his pace and corrects his line to fourth stump and nips one back into Blundell who has to adjust quickly to keep it out. Nothing consistent about this over, though, some short stuff and three fuller ones that test him more.

11:52 AM

OVER 62: NZ 185/5 (Mitchell 11 Blundell 15)       

As I have, no doubt tediously, pointed out in this series, Foakes has called Jack Leach "Leachy", "Leachy Boy", "Leacher" and, I think, "Jackie Boy". Billings opts for a plain "Leach" as in "Like it Leach" when he gets one to loop in, pitch, bounce and turn. Mitchell covers bounce and movement to drop it into the offside.

Blundell began the over with a single tapped through point.

Replacement wicketkeeper Sam Billings shares a joke with Joe Root (c) and Zak Crawley during day four of the third Test Match  - Stu Forster/Getty Images
Replacement wicketkeeper Sam Billings shares a joke with Joe Root (c) and Zak Crawley during day four of the third Test Match - Stu Forster/Getty Images

11:44 AM

OVER 61: NZ 184/5 (Mitchell 11 Blundell 14)       

Stokes has two slips in for Broad, short square leg, short midwicket, short cover and short mid-off. I can imagine what Broad might have told a previous captain to do if he gave him a field with such little run protection.

Blundell opens the face to steer a single to point and hares down the other end.

Time for Jack Leach.

11:39 AM

OVER 60: NZ 183/5 (Mitchell 11 Blundell 13)     

Kumar Sangakkara is advocating that Jos Buttler open in the next Test. "Forget being down at No7, being at the top of the order in his [Stokes's]line-up would be very exciting." Hmmmm. They tried the Sehwag experiment with Jason Roy. Not sure it's viable. But then again, he would probably not be too much of a drop-off from Crawley who  needs remedial treatment on the placement of his front foot when driving. Potts puts the brakes on again with a maiden. His figures are 14-5-28-2.

11:36 AM

OVER 59: NZ 183/5 (Mitchell 11 Blundell 13)     

At last some relief from nagging accuracy when Broad veers too straight and Mitchell uses the angle to flick it off his toes for four. Nice stroke and a pleasing sound off the bat. Lovely bit of squirrelwillow. Broad responds with the nip-backer that whizzes past the inside edge and past Mitchell's box but then strays too straight again and Mitchell clips successive balls for two and one.

11:32 AM

OVER 58: NZ 176/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 13)   

This is an outstanding spell from Potts. Ollie Robinson caused India so many problems last summer but Potts is both quicker and more durable. He keeps plugging away down the corridor with bite and movement off the seam. As Nasser pointed out on Friday, he has this ability to bring his arm over from one o'clock which angles it on, deceiving the batsman on line, then nipping it away.

11:26 AM

OVER 57: NZ 176/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 13)   

After four dot balls from Broad, one of which behaves exactly as he wants it to and zips away from Mitchell's edge, they ask the question once again about the ball and this one fails the test of the rings. For the 12th time in the series, we're going to have a new, old ball.

Here's Nick Hoult on the great 2022 cricket ball mystery.

No discernible difference with the replacement ball. Perhaps more bounce and carry as Broad concludes his fifth maiden.

11:20 AM

OVER 56: NZ 176/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 13) 

Brilliant from Potts, 82mph down the channel, angling it in and nibbling it away from Blundell's edge two balls in a row. He definitely played at both. After two deliveries straining for the nick, Potts fires in the inswinging yorker. Blundell jabs down his bat in time to jam it out of the blockhole.

11:16 AM

OVER 55: NZ 176/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 13) 

Stokes positions himself at shortish mid-off about a yard in front of the popping crease one pitch along for Mitchell. The batsman leaves two and blocks four. Good, tight start by England. The breeze is up and fluttering the batsmen's collars which are popped like Barry C Homeowner adopts with his polo shirts. A second successive maiden for Stuart C Broad.

11:11 AM

OVER 54: NZ 176/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 13)

Potts keeps asking the question outside off. The discipline to persist with this line is impressive. Even when he gets his length wrong and serves up a half volley that Blundell drives through mid-off for four, he does not deviate thereafter. They've got a plan and he is executing it diligently.

11:08 AM

OVER 53: NZ 172/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 9)

Broad starts the day from the KLE with a maiden. Mitchell gets his nose above the ball to block but when he leaves a tight one Billings takes it and then throws it up to tickle the crowd. Good start by Broad to the right-hander, angling it in and tailing it away. Maiden.

11:06 AM

OVER 52: NZ 172/5 (Mitchell 4 Blundell 9)

One ball left of Potts' rain-shortened over from last night and it's loosey goosey on Blundell's pads and he tucks it off his hip for four.

10:25 AM

Good morning

After another cracking day in a terrific series New Zealand start the day 137 runs ahead and with  new old firm, Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, have their feet under the table. Yes, their partnership may only be seven so far but to date in this series they have made 236, 45 and 120 batting together. England will think they can chase down anything given Lord's and Trent Bridge but they would make life a lot easier if they could roll these two over cheaply this morning.

England have a new/old face behind the stumps at the start of day four. Ben Foakes has tested positive for Covid  and he will be replaced, as per ICC  regulations, by Sam Billings on a like-for-like basis. Billings, who was oddly absent from the white-ball Netherlands series, made his Test debut in Hobart five months ago, making 29 & 1 and holding five catches in the 146-run defeat. You can read the full story here.

I thought Stokes handled his bowlers very well yesterday and, being one himself, has a far more intuitive and sympathetic understanding of them than Joe Root and Alastair Cook. They had Broad and Anderson and, Cook for a year also had Graeme Swann, all of them world-class, all of them England Test hall of fame greats. Once they had gone I thought Cook was poor in his use of Moeen Ali, Root poor in his handling of Jofra Archer and Jack Leach, and others many. One of the most impressive things about Stokes' captaincy so far has been his relationship with Matthew Potts and Jack Leach, both of them blossoming in his belief in them. I thought Leach bowled so poorly at Trent Bridge he ought to be dropped. But it goes to show I'm just a hack. Stokes kept faith and has been rewarded. Leach has looked a different man with the Headingley crowd at his back, not on it.

Stuart Broad is currently being interviewed on Sky Sports by Kumar Sangakkara and Nasser Hussain and says the big difference is that the bowlers now have 'mental freedom', Stokes has liberated all of them, even ones with almost 550 and 700 wickets respectively. Free your minds ...

Right, on with the match. They start at 11am.