Daryl Mitchell has driven New Zealand’s revival after Stuart Broad struck for England early on the first day of the third Test at Headingley on Thursday. New Zealand were 225 for five at the end of the game, with Mitchell 78 not following his hundreds at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. Those inspired efforts were insufficient to stop the World Test champions from falling behind 2-0 in the three-match series. But Mitchell will strive to add another ton as the Black Caps try to salvage a victory in the final of the series. Broad, England’s spearhead after James Anderson was ruled out with an ankle injury, removed Tom Latham in the first over of the day and then won the prize from New Zealand captain Kane Williamson during a return of two for 45 in 17 bowling.
However, Mitchell held on tight after coming on with New Zealand faltering at 83 for four after Williamson’s decision to bat first after winning the toss under blue sky and on a good pitch.
He again received good support from Tom Blundell (45 not out) in an uninterrupted stand of 102 – their third century partnership of this series.
England wanted to make it three wins out of three under their new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and Test coach Brendon McCullum, a former New Zealand captain.
They may have been without Anderson, their all-time leading Test wicket-taker, but Broad still fired Latham for a six-ball duck after hitting straight at Joe Root with the first slip.
Will Young and Williamson, back in action after missing the second Test in Nottingham with a coronavirus attack, have recovered from the damage after coming together on nothing for one.
Williamson, on a pitch where he played for Yorkshire, drove Broad for four and Young cut a boundary from Jamie Overton, with debutant Surrey quickly opting for twin brother Craig as the replacement for Anderson.
However, Spin ended a promising partnership when left-arm Jack Leach struck with his first ball, turned around and made a delivery straight to have opening batsman Young lbw for 20.
Broad then turned down Williamson, whose flowing 31 included five fours, when the star batsman edged an excellent leg cutter against wicketkeeper Ben Foakes as the seam bowler took his 548th Test wicket.
Williamson tore off his glove in disgust in a rare display of emotion.
Overton, who were presented by his twins with his English cap at the start of the day, came into the game with his first Test wicket after lunch.
Devon Conway played out for 26 and tried to drive a full-length Overton ball to leave New Zealand in trouble at 83 for four.
The struggling Henry Nicholls made 19 of 99 balls when he fell tea in a freaking manner at once.
Nicholls drove powerfully at Leach just for the ball to deflect off non-goal scorer Mitchell’s bat and walk lightly to Alex Lees in the middle of the game.
Mitchell could have been out for eight, however, but England decided in one of several poor review choices not to challenge Matthew Potts’ rejected lbw appeal, with repetitions confirming the batsman would be out.
Mitchell celebrated that escape by elevating Leach for a straight six and went on to make a fifty of exactly 100 balls.
England thought they had caught Blundell from part-time spinner Root for 31 backwards, but the batsman’s review showed no contact with the ball.
There was more frustration for England when Overton, after a brief rain break, believed he had caught Mitchell for 60 alongside the leg by Foakes, only for England’s review to reveal that the batsman missed the ball.
England took the new ball as soon as possible, with New Zealand 203 for five of 80 overs, but could not make another breakthrough.
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