England’s all-out approach results in series whitewash over New Zealand, win 3rd Test by 7 wickets

England’s gung-ho approach was on display on the final day of the three-match Test series versus New Zealand in the Headingley encounter. Resuming their 296-run chase on Day 5, on Monday (June 27), Ben Stokes-led hosts defeated Kiwis by seven wickets to inflict a series whitewash over the World Test champions.

Ending Day 4 at 183-2, England was oncourse for a 3-0 scoreline with a settled Joe Root and Ollie Pope in the middle. The duo got together with the score of 51 for 2 after NZ set up another challenging target in the series. The script remained the same for England as they recovered after a poor start and continued their relentless attack to find the gaps and keep the scoreboard ticking. Thus, the unbroken third-wicket stand was expected to guide hosts to a comfortable win.

After a delayed start to Day 5, due to rain, England lost Pope for 82. Despite losing the right-hander as he was nearing a triple-figure score, Root got Jonny Bairstow’s company as the two found the gaps with ease and the runs kept flowing in at regular intervals. Bairstow (71 not out off 44 deliveries) slammed the second-fastest fifty by an Englishman in whites and Root remained unbeaten on 86 as England completed a whitewash.

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Talking about the contest, Kiwis had opted to bat first and rode on Daryl Mitchell’s third consecutive ton of the series to post 329. With England reduced to 55 for 6, the visitors fancied their chances of attaining a healthy lead but Bairstow’s stroke-filled 162, off 157 balls, and all-rounder Craig Overton’s 97 propelled the Three Lions to 360 all-out, leading by 31 runs.

Tom Latham’s 76, captain Kane Williamson’s 48, Mitchell’s 56 and keeper-batter Tom Blundell’s 88 helped NZ post 326 in their second essay, setting up a challenging 296-run target. Despite having a competitive total to defend, the Black Caps faltered yet again and failed to run through England’s middle and lower order, as was the case in the opening two games.

Lack of runs from their top-order and having no answers to England’s all-out approach with the bat resulted in Kiwis’ downfall in each and every game, despite them being on top on various occasions. Stokes & Co. will now gear up for the rescheduled fifth and final Test versus India, in Edgbaston, which commences on July 01. The Brendon McCullum-Stokes pair will be eager to prevent India from winning the incomplete five-match series, where they have conceded an unassailable lead to Rohit Sharma & Co., and end it with a 2-2 scoreline.

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