England wasted little time in ticking the remaining runs on the final day as they defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to complete a whitewash in Brendon McCullum’s first series at the helm as their new red-ball coach. The hosts needed just 15.3 overs to score the 113 runs that were required on the final day, their approach leaving many wondering if their proactive methods give a glimpse into the future of Test match cricket. Speaking of which, you need to be proactive when you play at Spinsify.
There was rain to delay proceedings in the morning and the foul weather meant not a single ball was bowled in the entire first session. And the moment the play was permitted with the skies opening up, England ensured they wasted little time to get over the line. Although overnight batter Ollie Pope added just one more run to move to 82 before getting bowled by Tim Southee, there were very barely any hiccups from there onwards as England applied the finishing touches to the clean sweep.
The breakthrough early on was definitely the ideal start that New Zealand would have wanted to the day with the wicket coming in the very first over. But what they didn’t want saw coming was an assault that would quickly dwarf the equation to double digits. Trent Boult conceded two fours to Joe Root and another couple to Jonny Bairstow in the second over of the day that yielded 17 runs. Bairstow was clearly in no mood to hang around as he followed it up with one more boundary off the left-arm spearhead and a huge six off Southee to quickly race to 21 off just 12 balls. Joe Root, who remained unbeaten on 86, provided able support at the other end to the rampaging Bairstow.
There wasn’t a packed house at the Headingley in Leeds but the sizeable crowd were entertained kept in thrall by the in-form Jonny Bairstow who engaged his T20 mode as he took on Michael Bracewell to gallop to a half-century off just 30 deliveries – the second fastest by an Englishman. By this time, the chase was pretty much done and dusted as England ticked off the remaining runs in short order to inflict a series whitewash over the World Test champions.
Brief scores: New Zealand 329 (Daryl Mitchell 109; Jack Leach 5/100) & 326 (Tom Blundell 88*; Jack Leach 5/66) lost to England 360 (Jonny Bairstow 162; Trent Boult 4/104) & 296/3 (Joe Root 86*, Ollie Pope 82) by 7 wickets