NZ vs Eng Third Test | Bairstow, Overton pull England back from the brink on day two

Jonny Bairstow and Jamie Overton combined for a record unbeaten 7th wicket stand of 209 runs to rescue England from 55 for 6 on the second day of the third Test between England and New Zealand

Jonny Bairstow and Jamie Overton combined for a record unbeaten 7th wicket stand of 209 runs to rescue England from 55 for 6 on the second day of the third Test between England and New Zealand

A barrage of boundaries by Jonny Bairstow and Jamie Overton fed England’s fightback and blunted New Zealand’s own hostile attack on another thrilling day Friday of the third Test at Headingley.

Bairstow and Overton, the fast bowler on debut, came together at 55-6 in reply to New Zealand’s 329.

The pair lashed out in a record unbeaten stand of 209 runs to lead their side to 264-6 by stumps.

Bairstow, playing on his club ground, was 130 not out from 126 balls. Overton was 89 not out from 106 on the second day of his maiden Test.

33 boundaries in record stand

They combined for 33 boundaries and two Overton sixes at a staggering run rate of 5.6 per over in England’s highest seventh-wicket stand to peg back New Zealand and put the Test back on edge.

Just hours after England looked likely to follow on, it was only 65 runs in arrears on the first innings.

“Being a Yorkshire lad, scoring a test hundred at home is pretty special,” Bairstow said. “My family and my mates are here as well. Every time you score a test hundred it’s emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve, which isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea.”

He hoped to be on hand to help Overton reach a century on debut.

“Jamie played unbelievably. I guess it helps being 6 feet, 5 inches but blooming heck, that was some seriously special striking,” he said. “Hopefully in the morning we will be able to experience him getting his maiden Test hundred which would be absolutely lovely.”

Thrilling series

England has the series sewn up after edging the first two Tests, and the third is following a similar back-and-forth script.

New Zealand, 123-5 on Thursday, was all out just after lunch on Friday following Daryl Mitchell’s third century in three Tests.

Mitchell was out for 109 on the stroke of lunch. Counting his knocks of 108 at Lord’s and 190 at Trent Bridge, Mitchell broke Martin Donnelly’s New Zealand record of 492 runs in a series in England, in 1949.

England’s top order was then routed from withering and sustained seam bowling by Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Boult clean bowled openers Alex Lees (4) and Zak Crawley (6), followed by Ollie Pope (5). Southee claimed Joe Root on 5. England was 21-4 — the top four dismissed in single figures at home for the first time since the 2005 Ashes test at Lord’s.

Neil Wagner added two wickets in a single over, taking out England captain Ben Stokes after a 13-ball cameo for 18 runs, and Ben Foakes lbw for a duck.

That reduced England to 55-6, and brought together Bairstow and Overton in the afternoon session.

Bairstow turned the second test with a remarkable last-day 136 in Nottingham last week, and merely picked up where he left off.

He passed 5,000 test runs driving Southee through the covers to the boundary. Consecutive boundaries off Southee brought up his fifty. Another boundary off Southee down the ground avoided the follow on.

Overton was no bystander.

A boundary off Boult to long off brought up their fifty partnership. His first six over long off, at spinner Michael Bracewell’s expense, brought up their century stand.

Overton, who has one first-class century to his name, raised his test fifty hitting Wagner through midwicket for his seventh boundary. He hit Wagner for his second six high over the midwicket fence in the 60s.

Bairstow reached his 10th test century, off 95 balls, smacking Boult past mid-off with his 15th boundary.

His 20th boundary brought up the 200-run partnership with Overton.

By stumps, Bairstow had 21 fours, Overton had a dozen, and the bowling figures of the New Zealanders had blown out.

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