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Second Test v New Zealand 2022


After just five days’ break, the two teams reconvened at Trent Bridge. For the home side, Jack Leach had recovered from his concussion protocol and was fit to play, enabling England to select an unchanged side. Meanwhile New Zealand made three changes, two enforced, with Kane Williamson testing positive for Covid, meaning Tom Latham stepped up as skipper, and Henry Nicholls came in for him. Colin de Grandhomme’s injury gave Michael Bracewell a chance for his Test debut. Ajaz Patel was omitted in favour of an all-seam attack for New Zealand, Matt Henry his replacement.


Ben Stokes won the toss and chose to field, spotting some green on the pitch that he hoped would assist his bowlers, on a ground where batting often gets easier throughout the match. It quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be too hard on the first morning, either, as there was very little swing on view. The fifty opening partnership came in 89 balls. With runs flowing, it was a surprise when Will Young edged Stokes to second slip where Zak Crawley took a good, low catch to fall for 47. Almost immediately after, Latham dragged a long-hop from Anderson straight into the hands of Matty Potts at mid-wicket on 26. By lunch, the score was 108 for two off 26 overs.


Soon after the break, Broad upped his game but had no luck when Henry Nicholls was dropped by Crawley in the slips. In the end, it was Stokes who removed Nicholls, who edged to Ben Foakes on 30, then Devon Conway (on 46) also edged to Foakes, this time off the bowling of Anderson. New Zealand were 169 for four, but this meant a reprise of the partnership that had frustrated them for so long in the second innings at Lord’s: Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell. On 3, Mitchell was dropped by Joe Root off Stokes, as regulation a catch as you will get at first slip – and it was to prove hugely expensive, especially after England had caught so well at Lord’s. At tea, it was 195 for four.


Early in the evening session, an LBW shout from Leach was given not out, but was shown to have clipped Blundell’s leg stump to give him a lucky moment on 7. On 10, Blundell edged Potts through third slip, but no one was there. It was inevitable he was going to make England pay, though not before he got the benefit of another marginal LBW shout on 39. Mitchell went to his fifty off 91 balls, and the hundred partnership came in 159 balls. Blundell was dropped by Root off Leach on 47 – a very tough chance – before going on to complete his fifty in 93 balls. When England took the new ball, they needed to make it work, but an edge off Broad was watched by Crawley and Jonny Bairstow in the slip cordon, with neither going for it. The day finished with New Zealand on 318 for four, and totally in control.


There was no immediate change of luck for England on the second morning. Mitchell reached his second consecutive century (only the fifth New Zealander to achieve that feat) in 184 balls, before giving another chance in the deep, dropped by Potts. Blundell eventually followed him to three figures, after just missing out at Lord’s, in 191 balls. By then the pair had taken their partnership beyond 200 (in 365 balls); when they went past 222 they set a new record for the fifth wicket for New Zealand. Finally, Blundell drilled one off Leach to Stokes at mid-off and was out for 106, having added 236 for the partnership. For Bracewell, it wasn’t exactly the worst time to make your debut innings at this level, and by lunch the score was 412 for five.


After the break, one Leach over went for 17 as New Zealand showed real intent, with Mitchell going to 150 in 245 balls and Bracewell looking to enjoy himself. A sudden rain shower brought the sides in early for tea, with the total having moved on to 481 for five. Finally, Root clung on to an edge from Bracewell, on 49, off Anderson to make it 496 for six. Broad bounced Kyle Jamieson who gloved it through to the keeper, then that same over dug one into the ribs of Tim Southee who spooned it up to Root. Straight after that Matt Henry looped one out to the covers off Leach, as the tourists lost their third wicket for 7 runs – though it doesn’t matter too much when you’ve already gone beyond 500. England’s attempts to pick up the final wicket showed a bit of muddled thinking, as Mitchell broke the record for the highest score on the ground by a New Zealander when he reached 177. Could he make it to 200? Alas no, as he chased a wide one from Potts and edged it to Foakes, as New Zealand were all out for 553, their highest score in England. All ten wickets were caught, but it was the drops England will have rued.


As so often happens when chasing a daunting total, England lost an early wicket when Zak Crawley got a thin edge to a fine delivery from Trent Boult to leave them 6 for one, putting the pressure on Ollie Pope. But the Surrey man, after a circumspect start, decided the best solution was to play positively, taking 16 runs off one over. Alex Lees was lucky to survive on 12 when Mitchell dropped a simple catch at first slip, then Mitchell missed a harder one off Pope, who soon reached his fifty off 66 balls, and England batted through to the close, finishing on 90 for one.


The third day began with a few uncertain shots from Pope, who looked vulnerable on the outside edge, but Lees was playing well as the pair took their partnership to a hundred in 189 balls. Lees went to his maiden fifty in 109 balls, but fell for 67 edging Henry to Mitchell. For Root it was a rare experience, coming in at 147 for two, and he arrived like a man who expected to score another century, though he did survive a tough chance on 27. By lunch it was 195 for two.


Within a few minutes of the restart, Pope went to his second Test century, off 160 balls, with Root pumping his fists in celebration as they ran the second run to bring up the landmark. This was a side looking like they enjoyed playing together. Soon it was Root’s turn to make fifty, in 56 balls, and it was clear that was merely a halfway point as far as he was concerned as the pair scored at more than five an over. Root reached his 27th hundred in just 116 balls, his tenth since the start of 2021, his fourth on the ground and his fourth against New Zealand. With just two wickets down, New Zealand took their second new ball just before tea, when the score was 331 for two.


The evening session began with Pope pulling the ball down to fine leg, where he was caught for a career-best 145. Bairstow got a good one that brushed his glove to give Boult his third wicket, and England had lost two quick wickets. Stokes began at more than a run a ball, playing some remarkable shots; then Jamieson pulled up in mid-over, adding to the tourists’ woes. Stokes was caught in the deep for 46 off just 33 balls as Bracewell picked up his first Test wicket. Foakes was dropped in the deep, as the wheels began to fall off for New Zealand. Root reached 150 in 181 balls. By the close, England were 473 for five, having scored 383 runs in the day.


It took just 15 minutes on the fourth morning to bring up 500, and Foakes reached his fifty in 90 balls, with the first five overs going for 43 runs. So when Root was out for 176, chipping a slower ball from Boult into the covers, it was a disappointment for all concerned, opening up the tail. Broad was brilliantly caught by Mitchell at slip off Bracewell; Potts created confusion and Foakes was run out for 56; Potts was bowled by Boult, who picked up his tenth five-wicket haul; and finally Anderson was stumped. All out for 539, England trailed by 14 having lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.


In the first over, Latham made a terrible decision to leave one from Anderson that was always spearing into his stumps; it was the Burnley man’s 650th Test wicket in a truly unprecedented career. By lunch, New Zealand were 27 for one, leading by 41. After the break, there was a rare and brief quiet spell in the match. But Conway took on Leach, taking him to fifty in 108 balls as he and Young also completed a century partnership, but immediately Leach had Conway caught sweeping. At tea it was 114 for two.


Young went to fifty off 98 balls straight after tea, then Potts had Nicholls caught in the gully, bringing in New Zealand’s man of the series Mitchell. A terrible mix-up left Young run out for 56, bringing together the dangerous partnership of Mitchell and Blundell again, on 131 for four. A short-pitched barrage from Broad removed Blundell, when he mistimed a pull shot to Stokes. Bracewell came out to attack and he was caught by Broad, then Southee was run out for a duck in another mix-up. The fourth day ended with New Zealand on 224 for seven.


At the start of the final day, for which Nottinghamshire had opened up Trent Bridge for free to fans, New Zealand were 238 runs ahead with three wickets left. Quick wickets and England might just have a chance to chase a target, though this total had been achieved on the final day only four times in history; alternatively, New Zealand had the chance to push for victory themselves. It promised to be an intriguing final day; it turned out to be a sensational one.


Almost immediately Leach could have had Henry caught by Root, who missed the chance before Broad came on and a short-pitched delivery was edged to Foakes by Henry. Broad repeated the dose to Jamieson to leave New Zealand on 249 for nine, then once again the final wicket proved hard to secure. Mitchell reached another fifty, this time in 121 balls. He and Boult added 35 until Anderson forced Boult to slap one to mid-off. All out for 284, it meant England had to chase 299 for victory, with two sessions and 40 minutes to do it – if they wanted to go for it. They had the boost that Jamieson would not bowl.


When Lees hit the first two balls of the innings to the boundary, there was no question about England’s intent. Crawley’s disappointing match continued as he edged Boult to Southee to fall for a duck. By lunch, the score was 36 for one, and the first ball after the break Pope was given a reprieve when he was dropped in the slips. It didn’t cost too much as Henry forced him to edge to Blundell. When Root hit it straight back to Boult on 3, England were 56 for three and struggling.


Bairstow got off the mark with a Chinese cut, but was soon beginning to show his true ability for the first time in the series. However, when Lees (on 44) became Southee’s first victim of the match, England were 93 for four in the 26th over – just two wickets away from exposing their long tail. Time for caution? Not a bit of it. At tea, England were 139 for four in 34 overs, meaning they had 38 overs to score 160 runs. What happened next was unlike anything that we have seen in Test cricket.


The second and third balls of the final session went to the boundary, taking Bairstow to fifty in 51 balls. New Zealand tried a barrage of short deliveries, as England added 43 runs in the first three overs. The second fifty of Bairstow and Stokes’s 74-ball hundred partnership came up in a scarcely believable 19 balls. Stokes, who had hurt his leg, decided the best solution was to avoid running by simply hitting the ball to the boundary. Meanwhile Bairstow reached his hundred off just 77 balls, taking 26 for his second fifty – it was the second fastest Test century in England’s history and his ninth for his country. Six balls later he was on 122 – it was stupendous hitting.


A hundred runs in the session came up after nine overs, and then Stokes went to his fifty in 55 balls with a straight six of grace and brute force. It seemed as though the pair would race England to victory, but then – perhaps – a twist: Bairstow edged Boult to the keeper and was out for 136 off 92 balls, an innings like no other you’ll ever see in a Test run chase, with 14 fours and seven sixes. Stokes finished it off with a crunching cover drive to the boundary, taking him to 75 not out off 70 balls, taking just 50 overs to chase down 299 – it was the highest successful run chase in Test history at Trent Bridge, and it secured the series for England. The match aggregate of 1675 was the eighth highest in Test history and the second highest in England, while the match run-rate of 4.1 per over was the highest for any match with an aggregate of 1500 or more. The match contained more boundaries than any other in Test history, breaking the 1000 barrier for the first time (225 fours and 24 sixes for a total of 1044 runs). And all this after New Zealand had scored a record-breaking 553 in the first innings.