LEEDS - England endured a disastrous period of play against the new ball in their response to New Zealand’s first innings total of 329 as they lost six wickets to hand control to the visitors on Day 2 of the Headingley Test on Friday.

The hosts took little time to polish off the New Zealand innings after the lunch break as Jack Leach added two more wickets to finish with a five-fer. But what followed suit was a stunning display of swing bowling from the experienced New Zealand pace trio, leaving the hosts reeling at 91 for 6. The procession started as early as in the opening over.

Trent Boult got the new ball to swing and Alex Lees failed to cash in on the reprieve he received just two balls into the innings. An excellent delivery from the bowler swung late and hit the off stump to send the opener packing. Boult then followed it up by smashing the stumps two more times with deliveries that swung into the right-handed Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley.

If this triple blow stunned the English camp, they were in for more misery as the big fish was gobbled up by Tim Southee. Bowling from wide of the crease, Southee forced Joe Root to play at a delivery that he only managed to edge behind as England found themselves reeling at 21/4. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes then decided to counter-punch and they did thrill the crowd with some extravagant strokes.

The ploy was always going to be risky as Stokes found out the hard way against Neil Wagner. Getting a go finally in the series, Wagner struck in his first over when Stokes came down the track, only to mistime one to mid off. Three balls later, Wagner struck again as his dream first over resulted in England losing their sixth wicket in the form of Ben Foakes.

New Zealand could have had one more before the break had they opted for a review against Jamie Overton but having lost a review earlier against the same batter, the visitors didn’t want to run the risk of losing another review in the space of a few deliveries. With Bairstow also receiving a reprieve, England will hope the pair doesn’t run out of luck for as long as possible in the final session.

score board

ENGLAND 91 for 6 (Bairstow 33*, Trent Boult 3-43, Neil Wagner 2-17) trail NEW ZEALAND 329 (Mitchell 109, Blundell 55, Leach 5-100) by 238 runs.