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New Zealand on brink of Test win as England slump

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12th June, 2021
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England’s fragile batting line-up has been routed by New Zealand on day three of the second Test at Edgbaston, with Joe Root’s side facing the grim inevitability of a first home series defeat since 2014.

After conceding a first-innings deficit of 85 a combination of reckless shot selection and relentless bowling from a Black Caps side tuning up perfectly for the World Test Championship final, saw England slump to 7-76.

It took tailenders Mark Wood and Olly Stone to take the embarrassment of an innings loss off the table but after limping to stumps on 9-122 – just 37 in front – there will be nowhere to hide on day four.

Sri Lanka were the last touring side to deal England a bloody nose on their own soil but New Zealand are now certain to land a first win here in 22 years.

England had earlier bowled out the opposition for 388 and began their torrid stint with a thankless six-over spell before tea.

All the ingredients were there for New Zealand to force home their position but the brevity of England’s resistance was remarkable nonetheless.

Rory Burns, the home side’s form batsman, left the first ball of the innings but was immediately tempted to push at Matt Henry’s second. It was a nondescript stroke aimed in the general direction of extra cover but instead ended up in Tom Latham’s hands at slip.

Dom Sibley fared marginally better with eight but was still in the pavilion before tea, squared up and poking as Henry probed away on a good line.

The interval offered a brief respite for England but things went from bad to worse in the evening session, with the out-of-form Zak Crawley (17) next on the Kiwis’ chopping block.

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At the othe end, Root was hunkered down in pure defence but could not find a partner to share the load.

Ollie Pope got runs on the board relatively quickly, 23 in 20 balls, before Trent Boult pulled the trigger with a big inswinger destined to clip the top of the middle stump. England were 4-58.

First-innings hero Dan Lawrence bagged a second-ball duck, and James Bracey went to Ajaz Patel for eight before Root’s 60-ball resistance ended tamely, slashing a short one from Patel straight into Blundell’s gloves.

A lively eighth-wicket stand of 44 between Wood and Stone ensured the tourists would need to bat again, Wood guaranteeing it with an unexpected flourish as he clouted Patel for six.

Wagner eventually ended Wood’s fun for 29 and Boult proved far too good for Stuart Broad, but Stone and James Anderson played out to book in at least a sliver of play on Sunday.

© AAP

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