Day one of the third Test between England
and New Zealand at Headingley kept in line with the theme of the series as
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell rescued the visitors once again after an early
collapse. Mitchell and Blundell joined at the crease when New Zealand were in a
spot of bother at 123 for five after choosing to bat first, but the pair
allayed any fears and shared another century stand to end a gripping day’s play
at 225 for five.
The Kiwis expected to enjoy prime batting
conditions after winning the toss and asking England to bowl, but the Blackcaps
got off to the worst start imaginable, with Stuart Broad removing Tom Latham in
the first over of the match. Broad opened with the new ball in the absence of
Jimmy Anderson – who was replaced by Jamie Overton in the side – and got the
left-hander to half-heartedly poke at one outside off-stump, feathering a catch
to Joe Root at first slip.
Broad also set up the Kiwi skipper Kane
Williamson expertly before Lunch. The veteran seamer swung the ball sharply
into Williamson’s pads before getting the next one to hold its line outside
off-stump, making the New Zealand captain edge behind to Ben Foakes. Between
those two dismissals, Jack Leach removed Will Young with his first ball of the
day, with the opener missing a straighter one from the left-arm spinner.
Lunch was taken with New Zealand on 65 for
three, and after unfurling some delightful cover drives throughout the
afternoon, Devon Conway chopped on for 26 to give Jamie Overton his maiden Test
scalp. New Zealand rebuilt through Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls, but the
latter lost his wicket in bizarre circumstances. The left-hander smashed Jack
Leach down the ground, only for the ball to ricochet off the middle of the
non-striker’s bat and balloon to the man at mid-off.
Nicholls’ unfortunate dismissal left the
familiar duo of Mitchell and Blundell needing to rescue the Blackcaps once
again, and after sharing partnerships of 195 and 236 in the first two tests,
the pair added their third century stand of the series at Headingley. Mitchell
used the sweep and reverse sweep to good effect against the spinners throughout
his knock and brought up his 4th 50+ score in five innings with a
towering six over long-off against Jack Leach.
Tom Blundell played with a familiar heir of
solidity at the other end, finishing the day on 45* as both batters saw off ten
overs of the second new ball with little fuss to guide the team to 225 for five