England 539 & 299/5 v New Zealand 553 & 284 (Test Match)
*five day match England win by five wickets
England and New Zealand played out a real classic at Trent Bridge with five full days of full crowds packing in to West Bridgford to witness the second in a three-match series, starting Friday morning, with the anticipation already whetted by a previous thrilling three and-a-bit days at Lords where the home side were victorious.
As folk piled through the Dixon Gates with excitement for the Nottingham test, news of Kane Williamson’s covid related absence marred the mood slightly whilst Ben Stokes elected to field in a surprising call that would by the end of day one be judged to have been perhaps the wrong shout to take.
On a real batters pitch, an opening stand of 84 ended when Will Young fell to Ben Stokes before skipper Tom Latham went immediately after to the bowling of Jimmy Anderson, but Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls steered the black caps towards 200 ahead of two quick wickets by Stokes and Anderson which swayed the game back in England’s favour.
That advantage was soon wrestled back however, when Darryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell both scored centuries, their overnight stand of 236 ending with Blundell sweeping Jack Leach up in the air to Ben Stokes on 106, Mitchell would end his innings, eventually on 190 after New Zealand had massed a whopping 553.
In response, England fared well themselves and despite an early setback, losing Zak Crawley for four, Alex Lees and Ollie Pope put on 141 for a second wicket stand.
When Lees went for 67, that allowed the world class talent of Joe Root in, he of his 26th England century at Lords, to form a formidable partnership with Pope, himself brilliant before going slightly cheaply on 145 trying to slog Trent Boult for six.
In came Bairstow who didn’t last long before a Ben Stokes cameo ended disappointingly on 46, Ben Foakes then forged responsible pairing with Root, by then another centurion, his 27th test match hundred, which saw the stand through the Sunday night.
On Monday morning, day four, with the game in the balance, Root eventually went for 176, a colder, cloudier, and windier day than the three previous, certainly gave a bit in the air for the bowlers to use, and it was very much a day where the bowling won out. England eventually fell to a 539 total as Trent Boult and co wiped up the tail, 14 behind, after a cracking effort in response to New Zealand’s masterclass with the bat.
An early one for Jimmy Anderson had the whole place rocking though, Latham bowled for four with the England attack sensing blood. But New Zealand again swayed their advantage back with a ton stand between Conway and Young, both reaching fifties before Conway’s wicket fell.
Nicholls, Young and Blundell all then went with the tourists 176/5. Bracewell hit a quick 25 before falling to Broad before Southee was run out on naught, New Zealand ending the day 224/7 with a fabulous day five ahead in waiting.
On Tuesday as the sun shone, New Zealand added a further 60 runs to their score to lead the match by 298, it would be a record run chase for England to get at Trent Bridge in response.
Alex Lees set out his early intentions with three boundaries in the first over, Zak Crawley however didn’t get the memo, falling for a duck, his England future looking very bleak.
Ollie Pope would follow for eighteen before Joe Root clipped back to Trent Boult in what looked to be a key wicket for New Zealand ahead of Lees innings ending on 44, but Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow got England to within 160 by tea and that fell to well under a hundred in the first hour of the final session of the match, Bairstow reaching his hundred from just 77 balls.
Bairstow and Stokes put on 179 together as the cavaliers entertained the crowd to get within 27 of target, Bairstow nicking Boult to the wicket keeper to end his marvellously destructive innings with a huge 136 from 92 balls.
That left the two Ben’s to see the job home, Stokes hitting the winning runs, ending on 67 not out.
The most runs ever in a Trent Bridge test, the most boundaries ever in a test match, five centurions, five fabulous days of cricket, the 2022 version here in Nottingham will go down as one of the most iconic matches of international cricket ever.
England XI: Lees, Crawley, Pope, Root, Bairstow, Stokes (c), Foakes, Broad, Potts, Leach, Anderson.
New Zealand XI: Latham (c), Young, Conway, Nicholls, Mitchell, Blundell, Bracewell, Jamieson, Southee, Henry, Boult.
Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
*Main image @englandcricket a fabulous five days between New Zealand & England.