New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was non-committal on his future but insists he is passionate about the leadership in his side.

Williamson has passed 50 just once in his past eight Test innings, with his most recent century in the five-day game coming in January 2021, when he scored 238 against Pakistan in Christchurch.

Former Black caps bowler Simon Doull, who played 32 Tests for his country before moving into commentary, suggested Williamson should relinquish his role to focus on delivering with the bat.

That move would not be an unfamiliar one, given Joe Root has posted centuries in each of his previous two international red-ball outings after resigning as England captain.

"I just don't know about the longevity of Kane Williamson the captain," Doull told The Guardian. "He is, without doubt, the best player we've ever produced outside of Richard Hadlee.

"He is world-class and I'd love him to be just the best player we've ever seen, and if that means giving up the Test captaincy to prolong his career, I think he should.

"He's never been a lover of doing the media – he's just not that guy – he's a real cricket guy, he loves the game, studies the game.

"I just don't know that he can sustain all three formats. I would rather he was just New Zealand's one-day and T20 captain."

Doull suggested Tom Latham, who stepped in when Williamson missed the second Test against England due to COVID-19, is ready to take the reins.

Williamson offered assurances he is still passionate about the role as he insisted his focus was on developing New Zealand as a team.

"The picture of leadership in this side is something I'm very passionate about," Williamson said ahead of the third Test at Headingley against England, who have already won the series.

"Certainly I love playing for my country and there are a number of leaders in this team that share that passion to take steps forward and become a better side.

"Our focus is to keep getting better. We are up against a strong English side who are always tough to play against. It's trying to learn from some of those lessons.

"We've had two really good games, they have had some special performances that have driven them forward."

Ben Stokes is out to make some more happy memories at Headingley as England look to complete a Test series whitewash of New Zealand in Leeds.

Stokes and England have not played a Test at Headingley since his remarkable showing in the third Ashes Test with Australia in 2019, which saw him rescue the hosts and lead them to a one-wicket win with the highest successful chase in their Test history. Stokes' unbeaten 135 propelled England past the target of 359 and is regarded by many as the greatest Test innings of all time.

After replacing Joe Root as captain, Stokes – along with new head coach Brendon McCullum – has inspired another transformation in his first series as skipper, his side claiming successive wins over New Zealand, having previously won one of their last 17 Tests, to wrap up the series with a game to spare.

The second Test at Trent Bridge saw England ruthlessly chase down 299 in front of a packed day-five house, the hosts prevailing despite conceding 553 runs in the first innings.

It was a match that saw a Test-record 249 boundaries (225 fours and 24 sixes) struck. Seven of those sixes came in Jonny Bairstow's critical 136, the Yorkshireman reaching 100 off just 77 balls as he went into Twenty20 mode having recently returned from the Indian Premier League.

And Stokes says his side will play in the same attacking manner as he targets more joy at Headingley.

"The first time we've played Test matches since that game [versus Australia in 2019], so it's amazing how fast time goes," said Stokes. 

"There are obviously some great memories here at Headingley, we've got a good record here as a team so, yes, looking forward to getting going again.

"I was pretty simple and clear in the dressing room. I said this week, let's try and think like we're in the entertainment business rather than the sporting business because I feel like we've managed to do something over the last two weeks.

"There's a reason why we had 20,000 people that are at Trent Bridge on day five, because they want to come in and watch this new brand-new cricket that we're playing.

"I set a challenge to the team to come out and be even more fearless, more positive and more aggressive than we were last week."

 

Anderson out but Williamson returns

England's sole change from that win sees Jamie Overton replace James Anderson, who is out with an ankle injury.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson returns after missing the second Test with COVID-19 and he is not concerned with England's change in style under Stokes.

"Their style is theirs," Williamson said. "It appears to have evolved a little bit.

"For us it's focusing on our cricket and finding different areas of the game to target and be aware they are choosing to play a different brand that seems to be suiting them.

"The focus is us and wanting to be better."

New Zealand's attack has been depleted by injuries to Colin de Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson. Neil Wagner and Ajaz Patel are each in consideration to come into the side.

Stokes' six appeal

Stokes hit six maximums in the second Test and is now on the verge of joining a select group. He needs one six to become just the third player to hit 100 in men's Test cricket (Brendon McCullum – 107 and Adam Gilchrist – 100).

The omens are good. Stokes has hit more than one in each of his last three Test innings against New Zealand, after hitting only four across all his 12 innings prior in the format against the Black Caps.

England captain Ben Stokes has confirmed Jamie Overton will make his Test debut against New Zealand on Thursday, replacing the injured James Anderson.

Having ensured a series victory with a five-wicket win over the tourists at Trent Bridge last week, England go in search of a 3-0 triumph when they head to Headingley for the third and final Test.

They will be without Anderson - who claimed 11 wickets across the first two Tests - for that contest after the paceman suffered an ankle injury.

But Stokes, who was originally a doubt himself after feeling unwell, hopes the addition of Overton to the XI will provide a boost for Brendon McCullum's men.

"Unfortunately Jimmy has not pulled up as well as we would have liked," the skipper told Sky Sports. "So Jamie Overton is going to make his debut this week.

"It's unfortunate for Jimmy but we've obviously got a massive Test match against India next week to look to as well. He didn't pull up as well, so it's great Jamie gets the opportunity to represent England."

Asked about Overton's potential, Stokes added: "He's been very impressive.

"The way that he's bowled, we always want a point of difference in our side, and Jamie's been bowling with some serious pace and been changing games as well.

"So to have someone come in, in obviously a different role to what Jimmy normally plays, and in the back pocket having someone who can bowl 90 miles an hour and bowl aggressively, is exciting to have in the team."

Overton has taken 21 wickets for County Championship Division One leaders Surrey at an average of 21.61 this season.

His twin brother Craig was also called up to the England squad for the final Test but has narrowly missed out on selection.

A motivational team talk from Brendon McCullum inspired England to their thrilling chase at Trent Bridge against New Zealand, with Ben Foakes likening the message to a battle cry.

England managed a fourth-innings chase of 279 in the opening Test against the Black Caps at Lord's, with Joe Root posting a majestic unbeaten 115 to guide his team to victory.

More heroics were to follow in Nottingham when England had to chase 299 on day five.

Jonny Bairstow smashed England's second-fastest Test century as Ben Stokes' side plundered in the last session to secure an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

McCullum's coaching methods, which are said to focus on mentality as opposed to technique during the match, have been praised, and Foakes credited his coach's team talk before the final session.

"Baz's team talk at tea – it was like William Wallace!" Foakes said to ESPNcricinfo, referencing the famous Scot who battled in the First War of Scottish Independence and was depicted in the film 'Braveheart'.

"After he was done, everyone was desperate to get out there.

"The traditional Test approach in that situation would be 'see how it goes, see how many wickets we've got left, then if the situation isn't there, do we shut up shop?'

"He was like, 'Nah, we're not doing that. We're winning this game. If we don't, so be it – we've done it the right way. It doesn't matter if we don't win this game.' And it took the pressure off."

Foakes has taken the gloves for England, with new captain Stokes repeatedly expressing his support for who he feels is the best wicket-keeper in the world, and the Surrey star has subsequently delivered.

He has also experienced an upturn in his batting, scoring an unbeaten fourth-innings 32 alongside Root at Lord's before managing 56 and 12 not out at Trent Bridge to see England over the line.

England will look to complete the series sweep against New Zealand at Headingley starting on Thursday, and Foakes says the leadership of Stokes and McCullum has reinvigorated his enjoyment of cricket.

"It has changed the way I look at Test cricket," Foakes added. "With playing for England, there are obviously a lot of pressures, a lot of criticisms and things like that.

"If you think about that too much, it weighs on you. But over the last two weeks, it's clear to see the positives and how amazing playing for England can be.

"Baz and Stokesy, the way they are, promote that. When I think about it, my approach to Test cricket has always just been about endurance, mentally slow for a reason, and meant to be calculated.

"When you play for England, there is another side to it – the entertainment factor. I guess it's similar to the game a year ago [at Lord's, where England declined to chase 273 in 75 overs]: we could have gone for the win, but didn't.

"For pure entertainment value, within the crowd and at home, even if you lose that game at Trent Bridge, you're probably doing more for Test cricket.

"There's a balance in the game and trying to improve the viewership of it as well."

Jamie Overton has received an England call-up for the third Test against New Zealand.

The uncapped Surrey seamer joins his brother, Craig, in a 14-man squad for the final match of the series at Headingley.

The 28-year-old has taken 21 wickets for the County Championship Division One leaders at an average of 21.61 this season.

There are no further changes to the squad for a Test against the Black Caps that starts in Leeds next Thursday.

England chased down a target of 299 to beat New Zealand by five wickets at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and win the series with a match to spare.

Jonny Bairstow scored a magnificent 136 off just 92 balls on an incredible final day in Nottingham to give England an unassailable 2-0 series lead.


England squad for the third Test against New Zealand:

Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Joe Root.

Devon Conway is the latest member of the New Zealand squad to test positive for coronavirus.

The batter discovered he has contracted COVID-19 after taking a PCR test on arrival in London ahead of a team activity on Wednesday and will spend five days in isolation.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell has also tested positive following the Black Caps' defeat to England in the second Test at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

New Zealand physio Vijay Vallabh and strength and conditioning coach Chris Donaldson have also returned positive tests.

The tourists have no plans to call up replacements ahead of the third and final match of the Test series, which starts at Headingley next Thursday.

England won the series by chasing down a target of 299 to win by five wickets at Trent Bridge, Jonny Bairstow scoring a magnificent century.

Captain Kane Williamson was ruled out of the second Test in Nottingham after testing positive for coronavirus.

 

Stuart Broad hailed the mentality new Test coach Brendon McCullum has instilled in England, with the New Zealand great encouraging his side to play with freedom.

England completed a fourth-innings chase of 279 in the opening Test against the Black Caps at Lord's, with Joe Root posting a majestic unbeaten 115 to guide his team to victory.

But more fireworks were to follow at Trent Bridge when England chased down 299 in just 50 overs on the final day as the McCullum era got off to a magnificent start.

Jonny Bairstow bludgeoned the second-fastest Test century for England on Tuesday, with new captain Ben Stokes providing more than capable support to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead over New Zealand in the three-match series.

Much has been made of McCullum's coaching methods, which are said to focus on mentality as opposed to technique during the match, and Broad was quick to credit his coach.

"There's no doubt that Baz has had an impact already," said Broad.

"It does feel really fresh and exciting in the changing room. It's a very positive language. It's very forward-thinking, all about how to move this game forward.

"This is no dig but at tea, when we were four down with the game in the balance slightly, I've certainly been in changing rooms in the past where that would be shut up shop time.

"Baz's team talk was very much 'let's attack the danger; let's run towards the danger' so every part of your mind is about going for this win.

"It was never really a case of 'if we lose one we might shut up shop'. It was always 'we're going to win' and if it doesn't work, don't worry about it."

Root has continued his batting form in impressive fashion after stepping down as England Test captain in April, with Stokes taking the role.

Chris Silverwood was also dismissed as coach and Broad says McCullum has brought the focus back to the excitement of cricket, with players enjoying the challenge and the occasion.

"I don't think he's spoken particularly deeply, his whole mantra is about enjoyment and fun," he added. "The energy is: how good's Test cricket? How good's this ground? What can we get out of today?

"He looks like a guy who has a cricket brain that is working all the time, he's thinking how we can change the game.

"It's not just praising guys who get a hundred, it's tiny little things, bits of fielding, momentum changes in the game. He will bring attention to that."

While McCullum has enjoyed a great beginning to his role, downing the world Test champions in both matches, even the New Zealand legend may have not expected the heroics of Bairstow.

The Yorkshire star smashed a 77-ball century in a game-changing 179-run partnership with Stokes as England chased the remaining 160 runs in the final session with ease.

"I didn't quite expect to see what I saw from Jonny. It was the most outrageous hour I've seen in Test cricket from a partnership. It was just exhilarating, astonishing," Broad continued.

"That striking...only a handful of players in the world can do that. Jonny is obviously in that group."

Jonny Bairstow admits he feels vindication in choosing the Indian Premier League over County Championship cricket after his match-winning performance for England against New Zealand.

The Yorkshireman's blitz of a century, with 136 runs off 92 balls, was the centrepiece in a superb five-wicket win for the hosts on the final day at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

It marked Bairstow's ninth Test hundred and third in 2022, to hand the hosts a 2-0 series advantage with one match to go on his home ground of Headingley, starting June 23.

But having faced criticism for his decision to duck out on the start of the domestic season to play IPL, the 32-year-old acknowledged he feels his call remained the right pick.

"A lot of people were saying I shouldn't be at the IPL and I should be playing county cricket," Bairstow said. "But you are playing against the best in the world at the IPL.

"Being able to have those gears, to be able to switch them up and switch them down, is important. People say it would be fantastic if you had four games of red-ball cricket under your belt.

"Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen in the current scheduling of everything and we're very fortunate to be able to play in some of the best competitions against the best players in the world.

"When it comes to pressure situations, the more you're able to put yourself under pressure, the better.

"Because it's those situations that you've gone through in the past, whether that be in the IPL, in one-day cricket or in red-ball cricket, that you're able to call upon on evenings like that.

"Those opportunities and environments, whether they be for good or bad, are the things that [mean] you're able to produce performances like we as a group have done in this game, in the last game, and hopefully will do going forward."

Bairstow further reinforced he remains a passionate devotee of the long-form version of the game, adding: "The amount of pride that it gives me to play Test cricket for England, first and foremost, is huge.

"I'm hugely proud of the fact that sometimes when the chips are down, you have to stand up.

"That might be something that you're born with, it might be something that you have deep down that springs out of you at those moments. But as a cricketer, that's something I'm very proud of."

England will hope they can wrap up a clean sweep in their three-Test series when they meet New Zealand again at Headingley next week.

Their visitors will be facing a nervy wait on Michael Bracewell, however, after the all-rounder tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will require five days of isolation beforehand.

England star Joe Root has returned to the top of the ICC men's Test batting rankings, displacing Australia's Marnus Labuschagne.

Root has enjoyed a brilliant 2022, posting his fourth red-ball international century of the year against New Zealand in the second Test.

It took Root just 116 balls to reach three figures at Trent Bridge, the fewest he has ever scored a century in his Test career, and he has now converted 10 of his last 14 fifties into 100s (71 per cent).

The Yorkshire batter would go on to make 176 in the first innings, hitting 26 fours – the most recorded in an innings by an English batter since Zak Crawley hit 34 in his 267 versus Pakistan in 2020.

That helped England to an unassailable 2-0 series lead over the World Test champions New Zealand, after Jonny Bairstow scored the second-fastest red-ball century for his country on Tuesday.

Root's second century of the series came after his heroics at Lord's, in which he passed 10,000 Test runs with a majestic unbeaten 115, his first fourth-innings international hundred.

The 31-year-old, who stepped down from captaining England in April, has been rewarded with top spot in the world Test batting rankings as he reached the summit for the first time since December 2021.

Labuschagne has dropped down to second, with Australia team-mate Steve Smith in third, while Pakistan captain Babar Azam and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson make up the top five.

Black Caps number five Daryl Mitchell has also enjoyed a big rise up the rankings after his 190 and 69 not out in the second Test against England, jumping from 50th to 17th.

Meanwhile, in the bowling ratings Australia captain Pat Cummins remains top ahead of India's Ravichandran Ashwin, whose team-mate Jasprit Bumrah is in third.

That is due to Kyle Jamieson dropping three places down to sixth, with Pakistan quick Shaheen Afridi and South Africa star Kagiso Rabada moving up a place to fourth and fifth respectively.

New Zealand bowler Kyle Jamieson will miss next week's third and final Test against England at Headingley after suffering a stress reaction in his lower back at Trent Bridge.

The paceman pulled up on day three of the Black Caps' second Test and only returned on day five for a brief cameo with the bat as hosts England won a superb encounter by five wickets.

Jamieson, who had been the best of the tourists' bowlers with figures of 2-20 and 4-79 in the first Test at Lord's, is expected to return home now, with a view to a return in September or October.

Quick bowler Blair Tickner, who was part of the Test team for New Zealand's early tour games, will arrive as Jamieson's replacement, while Neil Wagner - yet to feature in the series - is also in the squad.

"It's always sad to see players forced to leave a tour early with injury," coach Gary Stead said.

"Kyle had played such a big role in the first Test at Lord's and I know how disappointed he was to have had his involvement in the second Test curtailed.

"He's obviously a huge asset for us and we'll be making sure we are patient with his recovery to ensure he returns fully fit with plenty more important cricket still to come later this year."

Dane Cleaver meanwhile has received his first Test call as a replacement for back up wicket-keeper Cam Fletcher, who has also been ruled out of the tour with a hamstring strain.

New Zealand may be boosted by the return of skipper Kane Williamson, though, ahead of their trip to Leeds on June 23, after the captain sat out the second Test having recorded a positive Covid-19 case.

New Zealand head coach Danny Hay has slammed the refereeing as "absolutely atrocious" and says FIFA let them down in their 2022 World Cup playoff defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday.

The All Whites missed out on World Cup qualification with a 1-0 loss to the Ticos in Doha in the inter-confederation playoff after Joel Campbell's third-minute goal.

New Zealand had a first-half Chris Wood goal controversially disallowed by the VAR along with a penalty shout turned down, while Kosta Barbarouses was sent off after video consultation in the 69th minute.

Hay lamented FIFA's decision to appoint UAE referee Mohammed Abdulla as well as his performance in the crucial game.

"They have let us down in putting somebody in charge who has clearly not officiated at this sort of level," Hay told reporters after the game.

"When we saw the announcement and then we looked at what Australia and Peru had last night with good, quality European officiating [Slovenian Slavko Vincic], I thought FIFA have made a mistake there in such an important game."

Hay added: "If I'm being honest. I thought some of the officiating was absolutely atrocious.

"The disallowed goal was two players battling for the ball. The foul could have gone to Matt Garbett to start with. Obviously VAR got involved and overturned that."

Veteran New Zealand defender Winston Reid, who previously played for West Ham United and Brentford, echoed his coach's sentiments.

"My general concern, I wish FIFA for a game like this would have given us someone more experienced. But that's the way it is," Reid told Sky TV.

"There were some decisions that just didn't go our way, unfortunately.

"But that's part of football and that's what happened today. It's just disappointing."

Costa Rica were outplayed by New Zealand in their inter-confederation World Cup play-off on Tuesday but clung on to a 1-0 advantage to reach Qatar 2022.

In a winner-takes-all match between the fourth-placed side in CONCACAF qualifying and the OFC stage winners, Joel Campbell struck the decisive goal after just three minutes.

The former Arsenal forward squeezed between two New Zealand defenders and bundled a first-time finish past Oli Sail.

Rather than tee up a straightforward Costa Rica victory, though, that goal preceded a sustained backs-to-the-wall effort as the All Whites dominated.

Chris Wood thought he had netted a precious equaliser late in the first half, only for a VAR review to spot a foul earlier in the move.

And another video referral in the second period saw substitute Kosta Barbarouses' lunge on Francisco Calvo upgraded from a yellow card to red, leaving New Zealand with a mountain to climb.

They continued to control the contest but could not score the leveller that would deny Costa Rica their place in Qatar, joining Spain, Japan and Germany in a tricky Group E.

Los Ticos – going to their sixth World Cup and third in a row – begin their campaign against Spain in Doha on November 23.

Ben Stokes lauded his team-mates after a magnificent victory over New Zealand saw England take an unassailable lead in their Test series.

England were quick to bowl out the reigning ICC World Test Championship kings in the morning session, leaving them to chase 299 runs over the rest of the day.

But there could have been some concern in the England changing room as they found themselves four wickets down for just 93 runs.

Instead, Stokes joined Jonny Bairstow in the middle and the two enjoyed a 179-run partnership over the course of just 20 overs.

Bairstow scored the second-fastest hundred for England in Tests, raising his bat after just 77 deliveries.

He finally fell as he was caught off the bowling of Trent Boult, but his innings of 136 off 92 balls did the heavy lifting before Stokes and Ben Foakes cruised to the winning total.

Stokes himself scored 75 runs off 70 balls, but he was quick to praise his team-mates, saying: "I can't take too much credit for that. For all five days, the boys were phenomenal with bat, ball and in the field.

"Everyone has contributed to this win."

He added: "It wasn't just myself and Jonny today, look at Leesy [Alex Lees] at the top there. The more he plays, he looks like a Test opener."

The England captain also heaped praise on Foakes, labelling him "the best keeper in the world".

New Zealand scored 837 runs across the match and still came up short, but their stand-in skipper Tom Latham was magnanimous in defeat.

"At tea, it was still in the balance, but the way Jonny and England played there was outstanding and all credit to them," he said.

Latham commended the efforts of his team-mates, adding: "I couldn't ask for more from them.

"It will take a while to sink in. The emotions are raw at the moment and the boys are gutted, so we will take some time away."

Although England clinched the series, attention now turns to the final Test at Headingley on June 23

The sky is the limit for England's Test team under the new leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, says Jonny Bairstow.

England claimed an emphatic five-wicket victory over New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, thanks in large part to Bairstow's supreme performance.

Bairstow struck 136 off just 92 deliveries as he turned in one of the all-time great batting displays in red-ball cricket for England.

Indeed, his 77-ball century fell agonisingly short of matching Gilbert Jessop's 76-ball hundred at The Oval in 1902, which still stands as England's fastest Test ton.

The Yorkshireman's 136 was the highest fourth-innings score of any England batter coming in at five or lower, as he combined with captain Stokes to propel the hosts to victory with a 179-run fifth-wicket partnership.

While Bairstow's stand was eventually ended by Trent Boult, who took 3-94 for a New Zealand bowling attack devoid of the injured Kyle Jamieson, Stokes (75 not out) was on hand to hammer a four through the covers and wrap up the highest successful Test chase at Trent Bridge.

England won just one of their previous 17 Tests before Stokes replaced Joe Root – who starred in the first innings in Nottingham – as captain and former New Zealand skipper McCullum was appointed as coach. They now hold an unassailable 2-0 series lead heading to Leeds for next week's final match.

With 1,675 runs scored over the second Test – the most ever seen at Trent Bridge – Bairstow explained England approached day five as a one-day game, and he believes the team have the perfect balance to return to the top in the longest format.

"It was just great fun to be out there. It's one of those things, when you get in that kind of mood you've just got to go with it. It was do or die," he told Sky Sports.

"If you strip everything back and there's just you and the bowler there... that's the bit where sometimes cricket's so much more complicated, and it's complicated by us as players.

"When you strip it all back, you're just watching the ball – that is the zone you have to get into. Sometimes it can be tricky.

"When there's been so many runs scored in the game, I don't think you look at it as a record run chase, you look at it as an opportunity to go and chase down a total. We saw it as a one-day game – that's how we looked at it.

"I think the positive approach, the brand of cricket we're looking to play, the players we have in that dressing room are able to play that brand of cricket. I tell you what, days like this are very exciting. If this is happening now, let's see what happens in the next few weeks and next few months because it's going to be a journey."

Asked where his ninth Test century ranked among his other tons for England in the five-day game, Bairstow – who revealed his evening session onslaught was fuelled by a "cheese and ham toastie and a cup of coffee" – replied: "It's number one. I think it's tricky not to be number one, isn't it?

"There's been a lot of chatter around England's Test cricket, some of which has been a bit harsh. We've battled through different things. I'm hugely proud of the way the guys have gone about it in those few years, it's enabled us to get close as a group.

"If we're able to go forward as we have done, keep that momentum, keep it going, the sky is the limit."

England's aggressive approach paid off as Jonny Bairstow and captain Ben Stokes emphatically cast New Zealand aside on day five at Trent Bridge, securing a series victory.

Victory for England looked uncertain at the start of Tuesday's play, but Stokes' side put on a show in Nottingham to win by five wickets.

Stokes (75 not out) and Bairstow (136), who fell just short of setting the fastest Test century for England, were the stars, taking the game away from New Zealand in the final session.

New Zealand resumed on 224-7, leading by 238, but Stuart Broad (3-70) dismissed Matt Henry and Kyle Jamieson to get England on their way.

Daryl Mitchell (62 n.o.) surpassed 50 but James Anderson (2-20) wrapped things up with England left needing 299 for victory.

England were unable to get through to lunch without loss, however – Zak Crawley falling to Boult (3-94) on a duck.

Ollie Pope was put down in the slips, though his fortune was out when he edged a wonderful Henry delivery through to Tom Blundell, and Joe Root failed to build on his superb first innings as he was caught and bowled by Boult on three, the former England captain's lowest Test score at home since he was dismissed for 0 at Old Trafford in the 2019 Ashes.

Opener Alex Lees' stand ended on 44 in the 26th over, and it seemed like the batting collapses that haunted Root's latter days as captain might not be confined to the past. Yet Bairstow and Stokes delivered a 179-run fifth-wicket partnership to turn the match on its head.

The damage was done in a sensational 10-over spell at the start of the third session, when England went from requiring 160 to just 50.

Bairstow set the tone by reaching his 50 with successive boundaries before reeling off five sixes in the space of three overs.

Stokes, hindered slightly by injury, did not let up on the aggression, though it was Bairstow's day when he clipped a shot through the offside to surpass 100.

Michael Bracewell was on the receiving end of two huge sixes and a one-handed four from Bairstow, whose incredible innings was ended by an edge from Boult.

Bairstow's partner in crime was on hand to, fittingly, finish matters off, though – Stokes slamming a four through the covers to seal one of England's finest Test victories.

Brilliance from Bairstow

Bairstow's post-tea onslaught was one for the ages. The Yorkshireman propelled England into pole position, delivering one of the all-time great Test innings in the style of a great white-ball thrash.

His 136 is the highest fourth-innings score by an England batter coming in at number five or lower, beating that famous knock of 135 from Stokes at Headingley in 2019 against Australia. The only disappointment for Bairstow is that he fell just one ball short of matching Gilbert Jessop's 76-ball hundred at The Oval in 1902, which still stands as the fastest Test century for England. 

Stokes era off to a flying start

After just one Test win in 17 matches, England have now won twice in the space of two weeks. Stokes and Brendon McCullum promised a fresh approach, and on this evidence, it will work a treat.

In total, 1,675 runs were scored over this Test match – the most ever seen at Trent Bridge, where the crowd were allowed in for free on Tuesday. That created a brilliant atmosphere, and they were rewarded with equally spectacular cricket, and England will go to Headingley next week aiming to wrap up a series whitewash.

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