Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root blast England to victory in third Test against New Zealand

The seven-wicket win at Headingley gives home side a 3-0 series clean sweep

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Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root completed England's third blistering chase in a row to kick-off their riotous new era under coach Brendon McCullum with a series whitewash over New Zealand at Headingley.

Root barely broke a sweat as he finished with 86 not out and fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow continued the form of his life as he cracked an unbeaten 77 to seal a seven-wicket win and a 3-0 scoreline.

“To walk away with a 3-0 win against the best team in the world is very special,” said England captain Ben Stokes after a dream start to his captaincy.

“The team has been absolutely phenomenal, I don’t know how we’ve won that from 55-6. It’s about the change of the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket.

“To say that we have done it so quickly is unbelievable. We’ve said we’ll go out and play a certain way regardless of the situation and it’s worked for us. Huge credit to Brendon and the backroom staff.”

In keeping with their astonishing efforts over the past month, England needed just 15.2 overs and a shade over an hour to score the 113 runs required for victory, with a pair of local boys fittingly at the fore.

Bairstow, following up two unforgettable attacking centuries, blazed the second fastest Test 50 in English history just a week after claiming the second fastest hundred.

He brought up his half-century in 30 balls, two more than Sir Ian Botham's 1981 record, and finished the game with the last of three huge sixes.

Root said of Bairstow: “It was like some of the 50-over stuff. He's a phenomenal player. He has been hitting the ball really well … it’s great to see him do that, to bat with the confidence and freedom.”

Stokes and McCullum took over as captain and head coach at the start of the summer hoping to revitalise the fortunes of a side that had won just one of their past 17 Tests, and have started their reigns with a hat-trick of remarkable victories at Lord's, Trent Bridge and now in Leeds.

The Black Caps, reigning Test world champions have set stiff targets on each occasion – 277, 299 and 296 – only to find their hosts in irresistible form at every turn. Here they completed the chase at a manic average run-rate of 5.54.

England had finished Day 4 in control, making light of a wearing pitch as a century stand between Ollie Pope and Root took them to 183-2 at a rampant rate of scoring.

That left just more than a hundred still to get, a challenging fifth-day ask in ordinary times but a seemingly trifling figure given to a team who are making a mockery of conventional cricketing wisdom in these changing times.

The entire morning session was washed out by persistent rain in Leeds, but the fans who took advantage of Yorkshire's offer of free tickets were rewarded when play got under way at 1.30pm.

Pope, who had been in wonderful touch on Sunday evening, saw his hopes of a second century in the series halted in emphatic fashion, with Tim Southee nipping one back through the gate to take out off stump.

But any New Zealand hopes of dramatic fightback were ended by the ruthless Root and Bairstow who banished any home nerves with an unbroken stand of 111.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said: “It’s been an incredible series, There is a new theme to England's approach and they won those fine margins that went a long way in perhaps deciding the outcome of the match.

“In every match, we've been in positions where we've found ourselves ahead of the game and in positions of strength but, credit to England for the way they've come out and played the game and counter-attacked.”

England v New Zealand: third Test, day four

Updated: June 27, 2022, 4:03 PM
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