3 June 2015
With the weather forecast for Leeds threatening to play a large part in the outcome of this test match, most peoples hard earnt pennies would be placed on a draw, but it wasn’t to be.
This time at the request of Cook it was New Zealands turn to bat first, once again the swinging new ball causing problems restricting the Kiwis to 144-5. Latham was grafting well, a perfect foil for the counter attacking skills of Ronchi, both ended their resistance in the eighties and New Zealand on 350 and Broad picking up the first five for of the series.
England enjoyed as larger opening partnership than they have for a while, Cook first to go for 75, then Lyth playing only his second test making a memorable 107 on his home turf.
This time it wasn’t to be for the England middle order, only a late flourish from Stuart Broad ensured a first innings dead heat at 350.
New Zealand sensed a victory at the start of the second innings, with the wicket showing signs of uneven bounce and some turn, plus some helpful England fielding and catching errors, the Kiwis amassed and unlikely 454 off of just 91 overs with four passing fifty and BJ Watling a match winning century.
There was brave talk of England being able to chase down the 454 to win, but with Cooks resistance ending at 141-6 and with very little before him, only a well made 73 from Buttler ending the England innings, it was hat’s off to New Zealand winning by a comfortable and well deserved margin of 199 runs.
A series that in my view was too short, New Zealand play their cricket hard, fair, smiles on faces, with a sense of dare and flare, without ego and a genuine respect to opposition and the game itself. By doing so they brought out the same qualities in the England camp. Refreshing and enjoyable to those like myself who can only sit, watch and admire these days.