2nd Test, Day 5: Bairstow’s incredible century lifts England to thrilling 5-wicket win over New Zealand

Chasing 298 for victory, England needed 160 in the final session and Jonny Bairstow combined with Ben Stokes to save enough time to take England home in the second Test with a sensational counter-attack.

With this win, England’s points percentage in the World Test Championship table jumps to 25 as they continue to push themselves away from the bottom spot. Defending champions New Zealand, meanwhile, slipped the points percentage to 29.17 and are just one place above England.

Earlier in the day, England had to work hard to pick up the last three wickets of New Zealand’s innings as Daryl Mitchell and Co showed a lot of resistance. Chasing their target, the hosts’ approach was to go for the win and though there was a small blip in the middle, they came up with a brilliant counter-attack to seal a resounding victory.

With an overnight lead of 238 runs and three wickets left in the bank, the task ahead was clear as daylight for the visitors – add more and more runs to the score. And they managed to achieve just that with Daryl Mitchell rocking and batting with the tail.

He first put on a crucial 32 run partnership with Matt Henry, who put on 18 before being sent back by Stuart Broad. Kyle Jamieson could not trouble the scorers much, was dismissed for 1 after a short delivery from Broad.

This was followed by an entertaining partnership between Mitchell and Boult, with the latter playing some audacious strokes. Boult was eventually dismissed after an entertaining 17 by James Anderson, while Mitchell remained unbeaten on 62, continuing his dream tour. Giving a target of 299 runs to England, the visiting team managed to add 60 runs.

With tail deliveries, the focus was on New Zealand’s pace attack to deliver the breakthrough to dismiss England. And he did exactly that.

Jack Crawley’s struggle continues after Trent Boult is caught for a duck. Alex Lees and Ollie Pope then ensured that England did not lose any more wickets before lunch. However, the pacer was more successful in the second session, striking relatively quickly after the break.

Henry drives Pope’s bat with a one-ball cracker to send it back for 18. Huge wicket chase from in-form Joe Root, caught by Boult and bowled to send him packing for 3. Struggling for bowling rhythm around the wicket, Southee received a well-set Alex Lee with a ball that had a length to it for 44.

Stokes and Bairstow now had a big job of making sure that the floodgates don’t open. And the pair batted on course for the rest of the season, with England still 160 runs short of the target. Both Bairstow and Stokes opened fire after the tea break. The New Zealand bowlers had no answer for the blast from the pair’s bat, especially Bairstow.

He scored a run-a-ball half-century in the first over of the final session and withdrew. Five sixes came off Bairstow’s bat in the next three overs as he single-handedly snatched the game potentially heading for a draw. A total of 68 runs came from the first five overs and in no time they were on their way to triple digits.

Despite Stokes’ knee injury, he kept wandering around to keep Bairstow company. He was very close to breaking Gilbert Jessop’s record for the fastest Test century for England, but missed a ball while completing his century in 77 balls.

The carnage continued even after reaching his milestone as he picked up Bracewell for two sixes and a four. An ICC report said that Stokes was not to be left behind as he scored a half-century in just 55 balls.

Bairstow eventually fell after hitting Boult for successive fours but sealed the game for England with 136 off 92 balls. Ben Fox was joined by his captain in the middle and as he has often done in the series so far, he played an easy innings. Settle any nerves.

Ben Stokes ends the game in style with a boundary – almost a carbon copy of his shot at Headingley in 2019 against Australia – as England won a five-wicket haul to seal the series 2-0 .

Brief scores: New Zealand 553 (Daryl Mitchell 190, Tom Blundell 106; James Anderson 3-62) and 284 (Daryl Mitchell not out 62, Will Young 56; Stuart Broad 3-70) lost to England 539 (Joe Root 176, Ollie) Pope 145; Trent Boult 5-106) and 299/5 (Jonny Bairstow 136, Ben Stokes 75 not out; Trent Boult 3-94) by 5 wickets.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and is not created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-media

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