Headingley Test Day 3: Watling hundred puts New Zealand ...

Headingley Test Day 3: Watling hundred puts New Zealand back on top

Tags: New Zealand tour of England 2015, New Zealand, England, Bradley-John Watling, Test match, England Vs New Zealand 2nd Test at Leeds, May 29-Jun 2, 2015, 2015

Published on: Jun 01, 2015

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After two days of Test cricket, during which fortunes constantly fluctuated, New Zealand gained a firm grip on the Headingley Test by stumps on Day 3, following an impressive all-round effort.

After two days of Test cricket, during which fortunes constantly fluctuated, New Zealand gained a firm grip on the Headingley Test by stumps on Day 3, following an impressive all-round effort. Having struck with quick wickets late on day two, they continued their good work with the ball, restricting England to 350, the same score they made in their first innings, and thus effectively making it a second innings match. It could have been worse for the hosts had Stuart Broad not chipped in with a blazing cameo towards the end of the innings. BJ Watling, playing as a pure batsman, then notched up his 5th Test hundred while Martin Guptill and skipper Brendon McCullum got fifties as New Zealand ended the day on a strong 338 for 6.

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The Watling-McCullum alliance was the most significant one of the day. New Zealand were in a spot of bother when Martin Guptill fell for 70, leaving the visitors at 141 for 4. Another couple of wickets would have Put England right on top. The fact that McCullum was known to take risks would have encouraged England. However, the New Zealand captain this time decided to rein himself in, and rebuilt for the team. He was ready to play the waiting game, and his patience was evident in the fact that he hit only three fours and a six in his 55 that lasted 98 balls. He was eventually trapped lbw by Mark Wood, following a successful review.

Watling was chosen for this Test in spite of the fact that he couldn't keep wickets due to injury. But, the team think-tank have a lot of faith in him, which is why he was chosen despite the handicap. And Watling repaid the faith with a wonderful knock, an innings that might help the Kiwis retain their two-year old unbeaten run in Test matches. Even after McCullum was dismissed, Watling carried on patiently. He was lucky on one occasion when he gloved Moeen Ali to the keeper, but Jos Buttler could not hold on to the chance. Watling eventually reached his hundred, having hit 13 fours and a six, and was unbeaten at the end of day's play.

New Zealand had gotten off to an unsure start after having bowled out the hosts earlier in the day. Opener Tom Latham was sent back by Broad, caught behind as tried to cut one. Kane Williamson also fell to the same bowler, again caught behind, not moving his feet and, in the process, failing to cover the swing. As they have often done in case of adversities, New Zealand's response to trouble was aggression. Guptill and Ross Taylor went on a hitting spree, and got the Kiwis past the 100-mark. Just when Taylor was looking good for a big score, he chipped Mark Wood to extra cover having hit a run-a-ball 48. Guptill went on to complete his 50, and eventually fell for 70, edging Wood behind the stumps.

Earlier in the day, the New Zealand bowlers continued from where they finished on the previous day. The struggling Ian Bell's woes continued as he edged Tim Southee to second slip. Southee also send back Buttler and Moeen in similar fashion, caught in the slips, with only the fielders being different. From 215 for 1 the previous day, England had now crumbled to 267 for 8. Broad decided to take on the bowling, managing 46 from 39, before being cleaned up by Matt Henry. England finished on 350, but by stumps the Kiwis had jumped ahead significantly.

--By A Cricket Analyst

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