New Zealand v England – the story of the match
Yorkshireman helped to keep England competitive in Christchurch.
Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood rescued England with priceless half-centuries after the tourists had threatened once again to fall flat against New Zealand.
Bairstow (97 not out) found unexpected assistance from number nine Wood (52) for a stand of 95 in 18 overs which switched the momentum of this second and final Test as England recovered to 290 for eight at stumps.
Tim Southee (five for 60) and Trent Boult (three for 79), who had instigated England’s first-innings shambles of 58 all out last week, did all the damage as three wickets fell for one run in nine balls en route to 94 for five, and later 164 for seven in Christchurch.
Wood defies expectations
Bairstow is undoubtedly the main reason England avoided another hugely chastening day. But Wood’s career-best 52 from number nine silenced those who predicted a worryingly long tail would fold as soon as the sixth wicket fell. Wood – in his first Test for eight months following the return of his ankle injuries – proved he can most definitely bat as well as bowl fast.
Tweet of the day
"We all love Cook, but he's on the agenda as well now. Aside from that double-century in Melbourne, his highest score since August in Test cricket is 39."— Test Match Special (@bbctms) March 29, 2018
Vic Marks makes a good point.
England 8/1 #NZvENG LIVE:
📻 @5liveSport extra
👉 https://t.co/9cnli5zP11#bbccricket pic.twitter.com/nXAy59vJpm
The thoughts of the former England off-spinner, on Alastair Cook’s travails, are projected from his summariser’s post on BBC Test Match Special’s official feed.
The James Vince enigma
After a bright start at number three, way back in Brisbane four months ago, the evidence suggests it is not the right position for a flair player who has flattered to deceive. Unless he bucks the trend in his second innings here, it is highly likely England will draw stumps. But Vince may just be worth a try at number six – a spot he has yet to inhabit and one which could play to his strengths, with variant challenges such as consolidation or a second new ball to concentrate his mind.
Stat of the day
Three for one.
England lost captain Joe Root, Dawid Malan and opener Mark Stoneman in the space of nine deliveries in another rampant passage of play from Boult and Southee. This was not the full-blown collapse of Auckland, but it is hard to stay competitive in Tests when mad half-hour aberrations keep undermining all the hard work.
Despite England’s recovery, another tight corner may well beckon as they try to avoid an 11th away Test defeat in 13 matches, and second series setback of their woeful winter to date.