WTC 2021-23, England vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Day 3: Joe Root, Ben Stokes score half centuries in fourth innings; England at 216-5 need 61 runs.
Brief Scores: Eng 141 (Crawley 43, Southee 55/4, Boult 21/3) & 216-5 (Root 77*, Stokes 54, Jamieson 59/4) require 61 runs to defeat NZ 132 (de Grandhomme 42*, Potts 13/4, Anderson 66/4) & 285 (Mitchell 108, Blundell 96, Potts 55/3, Broad 76/3) at Stumps on Day 3
After a huge unbeaten partnership of 180 runs between Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, their side New Zealand were well-placed at the end of the second day with a lead of 227 runs over the hosts. After a spell of showers on the morning of the third day, the unbeaten batting duo continued their innings. James Anderson and Stuart Broad opened the bowling for the hosts.
Daryl Mitchell completed his second Test century but New Zealand lost three wickets in an over
Mitchell who was short of a Test century by just three runs at the end of the second day, completed his hundred in the first over of the day. He registered his name on the Lord’s honours board by completing a century in 189 deliveries. However, Broad broke the partnership of 195 between Mitchell and Blundell by dismissing the centurion. Extra bounce by Broad resulted in an edge from Mitchell’s bat and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes took an easy catch. Mitchell made 108 runs off 203 balls with the help of 12 elegant boundaries.
On the next delivery, next batter Colin de Grandhomme faced a huge LBW shout and walked down the pitch a few steps without watching the ball; England fielder Ollie Pope threw a lightning fast hit to dismantle the stumps and caught the batter off guard. De Grandhomme had to return to the pavilion on a golden duck.
Broad again lit up the stadium with a classic nip-backer which dislodged the stumps of next batter Kyle Jamieson. Jamieson went out of the ground without troubling the scorers. As the visitors lost three wickets on three consecutive balls, the crowd went bonkers in the stadium. The islanders went sharp downhill from 251 for four to 251 for seven.
New Zealand bundled out on 285; post a target of 277 runs in front of hosts
The next batter Tim Southee tried to garner some quick runs by cracking boundaries off Broad. Blundell batted beautifully till Anderson trapped him dead in front of the stumps. Blundell missed his Test century by just four runs and the Black Caps inched closer to getting all-out. Southee repeated his feat of back-to-back boundaries off Broad in the next over. However, he saw the last two wickets fall quickly in space of seven balls from the non-striker end and was the last man out for 21 off 26 balls. New Zealand managed to amass 285 runs in the third innings to give a target of 277 runs for England.
Due to quick blows by Broad, hosts could keep the target in front of them less than 300. Matthew Potts bagged three wickets while conceding 55 runs, whereas Broad recorded figures of 76 for three in this innings.
England lost opener Alex Lees before lunch
Alex Lees and Zak Crawley took guard on the pitch for England in the fourth innings. Lees played a beautiful cover drive to get a boundary on the second ball of the first over. Lees continued to smash occasional boundaries before getting bowled by first-change bowler Kyle Jamieson on a personal score of 20. Till lunch break, England managed to score 31 runs after the fall of one wicket.
Kyle Jamieson bags a total of four wickets to push England to the brink of defeat
After the lunch break, Kyle Jamieson gave another shock to England by dismissing second opener Crawley on a personal score of nine. Crawley went to drive a sharp inswinger which resulted in an edge and Southee took a superb catch at the third slip.
England's batting unit was looking in trouble against Jamieson. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult also joined hands with Jaimeson to destroy the host's batting order and produced an absolute nip-backer to smash the tip of the off-stump of next batter Ollie Pope. The batter could make only 10 runs off 27 deliveries.
Jonny Bairstow came in all guns blazing with three fours in two overs but got bowled by wrecker-in-chief Jamieson. Bairstow made a quick 16 runs off 15 balls and went out of the ground to warm the bench. After losing the whole top order, England were struggling on 69 for four and were facing the danger of losing the Lord’s Test on the third day itself.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes bailed out their side by adding 90 runs for fifth wicket
Now the onus fell on skipper Ben Stokes and batter Joe Root to save their side from a huge loss. Stokes struggled early in the innings as he walked down the wicket and tried an attacking stroke against medium pacer Grandhomme but directed the ball straight onto the stumps. However, the umpire called no-ball due to overstepping by de Grandhomme and Stokes was granted a life. The England skipper didn’t take much time to settle down and started playing his strokes against spinners. He slog-swept a monumental six off spinner Ajaz Patel. England managed to stay alive in Lord’s Test till tea, reaching 99/4.
After tea, both England batters looked in fine touch and started to crack occasional boundaries. Stokes played his attacking strokes, especially against spinner Ajaz Patel. He clubbed two back-to-back sixes and a boundary in an over of Patel to garner 17 runs. Now, Stokes was looking to score on every delivery. Stokes smashed another boundary in the next over bowled by Jamieson. In the same over, Jamieson bowled a vicious bouncer to Stokes which headed towards the head of the batter. Stokes played a half-hearted upper cut to the bouncer and ended up edging to wicketkeeper Blundell. Stokes scored 54 runs off 110 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes.
Joe Root added another fifty-run partnership with Ben Foakes
Root completed his 54th Test fifty in 107 balls. After completing his fifty, Root cracked two back-to-back boundaries off Southee. New batter Ben Foakes gave able support to Root. They put up a 50-run stand for the sixth wicket, out of which Foakes made only eight runs. Foakes played second fiddle to Root in the vital partnership for hosts. Both players batted till stumps and kept their side in the game.
England reached 216/5 at the end of the day and need 61 runs to win the series opener at Lord's. On the other hand, Black Caps need to knock down half of the English batting order to conquer Lord’s. Root remained unbeaten on 77 off 131 balls, whereas his ally Foakes is unbeaten on nine runs off 48 deliveries.
What to Expect on Day 4
The Test series opener at Lord’s has turned out to be a hair-raising affair for the audience as England inch closer to a win on the back of two half-century partnerships on the third day, while chasing the target of 277 runs after bundling out the last six wickets of Black Caps giving just 49 runs in the morning.
New Zealand need just five wickets to win the Test, out of which most are lower-order batters. So, both results are possible in this Test, which makes this a pretty thrilling experience for fans across the globe.