England complete series clean sweep

LEEDS    -   England romped home to a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand in Headingley to complete a series whitewash.

Those expecting an early end to proceedings on the final day were left frustrated early on as rain prevailed at Headingley. With the rain failing to relent, the match officials decided to call an early lunch on day five, leaving the two sides waiting in order to force through a result. Needing another 113 runs for a victory, there was an early setback for England as they lost the in-form Ollie Pope. The young batter was bowled on 82 by Tim Southee.

But Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root were in a hurry to wrap up the contest, with the former continuing his dominant streak in the series. While Root rotated the strike, Bairstow was in an aggressive mood, hitting boundaries for fun. He brought up his half-century in only 30 deliveries – England’s second-fastest fifty in men’s Tests – as they marched on towards the target.

Bairstow would remain unbeaten on a 44-ball 71, while Root scored 86* as England romped home to a seven-wicket victory. With the victory, England overtook New Zealand in the standings, with a win percentage of 28.89. New Zealand now occupy the penultimate spot on the table, just above Bangladesh, with a win percentage of 25.93.

Jack Leach emerged as player of the match for his 10-wicket haul. “It’s nice to comeback after 2019, great memories from that day,” he said. “So yeah, here again. It did look dry and Stokesy came to me straightaway and said it’s going to spin. The seamers made it easy for me. Pottsy deserved five wickets as well. And I think Jonny deserved this award as well. He was unbelievable. To take wickets early was important. So yeah, good fun.”

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