Sunday, August 7, 2022
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Mitchell and Blundell, Blundell and Mitchell. Will no one rid England of these turbulent bats? For the third Test in succession Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell  have put on a century partnership and now Mitchell stands on the threshold of a third century in successive Tests. How England must be kicking themselves for not reviewing Matt Potts’ leg-before appeal when it was turned down. Ben Foakes has done well all series but he made that call and understandably, given the bowler is a novice, Ben Stokes deferred to him as he should, having given him the responsibility.

But that should not take the gloss off another good bowling effort from Stuart Broad, the luckless Potts and the lively Jamie Overton. Better still was the improvement shown by Jack Leach. He must have been working with Jeetan Patel over the past 10 days since Trent Bridge because he managed to bowl far fewer drag downs and there were signs of drift which was not part of his armoury before. It did for Will Young. Equally significantly perhaps, the Headingley crowd loves him because of 2019 and his gallantry and cheers his every touch. If the supporters embrace you, confidence soon follows.

Rain is forecast for after tea but it still looks a belter of a pitch when the sun is out. England will hope to keep New Zealand to about 350, pile up the runs (though they will face Neil Wagner for the first time in the series, a bowler they have found very tricky in the past) and hope Leach can rip through them. He may have to. Broad has done a lot of work this series, Stokes hasn’t bowled yet and may not all game, Potts will run all day but both he and Overton are raw at this level. 

Anyway, let’s get it on. 

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