Jonny Bairstow (5/2 to score 200) and Jamie Overton put on a sublime record partnership to help England recover from 55-6 to reach the close of play at Headingley on day two of the third and final Test against New Zealand on 264-6, trailing by 65 runs.
Resuming on 225-5, the Black Caps added another 104 runs to their overnight total as they were bowled out for 329, with Daryl Mitchell once again the star of the show as he made his third century in as many Tests with a knock of 109.
The 31-year-old, who was set to be left out of the side at the beginning of this series, is the fourth visiting player to hit three tons in a Test series in England this century – joining Mohammad Yousuf (2006), Rahul Dravid (2002 & 2011) and Steve Smith (2019).
England were in turmoil in their response as Trent Boult ripped through the top order, accounting for the wickets of Alex Lees (4), Zak Crawley (6), Ollie Pope (5), while Tim Southee dismissed Joe Root (5) and Neil Wagner got rid of Ben Stokes (18) and Ben Foakes (0) to leave the hosts on 55-6.
Just when the ship was sinking, Jonny Bairstow and debutant Jamie Overton came together at the crease and they managed to put on a terrific partnership to haul England well and truly back into the match.
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Bairstow managed to make his second century of the series, adding to his ton at Trent Bridge, while Overton recorded his maiden Test fifty as the duo put on England’s highest seventh-wicket partnership in Tests.
The duo reached the close of play unbeaten with Bairstow on 130 and Overton on 89 – an unbroken partnership of 209 – to leave England trailing New Zealand’s first innings score by 65 runs and setting up an intriguing third day’s play on Saturday.
Speaking on Sky Sports at the end of play, Bairstow revealed his joy at reaching another ton, saying: “Every time that you score a Test hundred it is emotional. You know what I am like, it means so much to play for England in Test cricket and that is the kind of guy I am.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve, it is not always everybody’s cup of tea but that is part and parcel of the game we play. I absolutely love representing this team and I am really excited about the journey we are starting to embark on as a group.”
England are 10/11 to win the final Test and complete a first 3-0 sweep on home soil since 2004, while the draw is 11/4 and New Zealand are 13/5 to end on a high.
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