A 90-run partnership between Joe Root and Ben Stokes saved England’s blushes on Day 3 of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, London. Chasing 277 to win, England were in a precarious state of 69/4 but an unbeaten 77 from Root and 54 from Stokes kept them in a dominating position (216/5) at Stumps on Saturday.
This happened after New Zealand faltered in their batting again despite a solid partnership between Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell. England bundled them out for 285 runs in the second innings.
Resuming at 236/4, New Zealand could add only 49 runs before getting bowled out, courtesy a three-wicket haul each from Stuart Broad (3/76) and Matty Potts (3/55). James Anderson picked 2/57.
On Saturday, Mitchell (108) scored his century with his first ball of the morning in the first over from Broad. He became the 15th New Zealander to make a Test century at Lord's. However, England regained control of the game with the introduction of the new ball, taking six wickets for 34 in the first 90 minutes of play.
Chasing the target, England had their heads against the wall when Kyle Jamieson took three and Trent Boult picked one wicket to reduce England to 69/4. The Three Lions’ top-order batsmen – Alex Lees, Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope scored 39 runs collectively. However, the rescue act from Root and Stokes helped England fight back. Jamieson broke the 90-run stand later but Root’s fifty alongside the gritty knock of Ben Foakes (9 not out off 48) helped England dictate terms towards the end of the day.
As it stands out, England need 61 more to win, while New Zealand need the final five wickets.
(With AP inputs)