|England 325-9 dec (Brook 89, Duckett 84; Wagner 4-82) & 374 (Root 57, Brook 54, Foakes 51)|
|New Zealand 306 (Blundell 138; Robinson 4-54) & 63-5 (Broad 4-21)|
|New Zealand need 331 runs to win|
Stuart Broad’s devastating late burst put England on course for victory over New Zealand on day three of the first Test in Mount Maunganui.
Bowling with the pink ball under lights in one of his trademark destructive spells, Broad took four of the five wickets to fall, all bowled, to leave New Zealand in tatters on 63-5 in their chase of 394.
Broad’s first wicket, that of Devon Conway, was the 1,002nd he and James Anderson have taken in Tests together, making them the most successful bowling partnership in the history of the game.
England’s late dominance was in contrast to the fluctuations of earlier in the day, when the tourists had to come through a see-saw battle to get to 374 all out.
Joe Root made a busy 57, Harry Brook a thrilling 54 off 41 balls and Ollie Pope accelerated to 49 off 46, but England still needed an important 51 from Ben Foakes when the game hung in the balance.
Not only did England set New Zealand a target that would be their highest ever to win a Test, they were also able to bowl for two hours with the pink ball as darkness fell.
Broad took full advantage, his 4-21 in a 10-over spell setting England on the way to what would be a 10th win in 11 Tests.
England on course after day of memorable moments
England have perhaps not always been at their best in this match but are set for a big victory after a thrilling, fluctuating day at a sun-kissed Bay Oval.
A breathless first session had the visitors pile on 158 runs for the loss of four wickets, during which time the treatment dished out to New Zealand pace bowler Neil Wagner left him with figures of 13-0-110-2, narrowly missing out on the indignity of having the worst economy rate ever in a Test innings.
In the afternoon, England captain Ben Stokes pulled his a record-breaking 108th six in Test cricket, beating the mark of coach Brendon McCullum. From the next ball, Stokes’ 109th six was carried on to the boundary by the hapless Wagner.
But the day belonged to Broad, who marked his return after missing the series win in Pakistan with a golden spell that took his partnership with Anderson past Australia greats Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as the most successful bowling duo in Test cricket.
Among the records and memorable moments, it was the contribution of the composed Foakes that earlier swung the game in England’s favour. With the lower order chipping in, the tourists were able to add 137 vital runs after the fall of the sixth wicket.
Despite the good pitch, the target looked a tall order for New Zealand, especially considering the night-time start to their innings.
Broad ensured the chase was over as soon as it began, much to the delight of the singing England fans amassed on Mount Maunganui’s picturesque grass bank.
Brilliant Broad brings down Black Caps
Given the increased difficulty attached to batting against the pink ball under floodlights, it is uncanny how each of the three night sessions in this Test have seen one of these teams starting an innings.
Perhaps crucially, New Zealand, who won the toss, have had to do it twice to England’s once. Whereas England reached 79-2 on day two, the Black Caps’ combined return on days one and three is 100-8.
Broad was below-par in taking 1-72 in the first innings, but here was at his sublime best, nipping the pink ball from a full length to find gaping gaps in Kiwi techniques.
The history-making moment was a nip-backer to bowl left-hander Conway and the best of the four was a trimmer to bowl Kane Williamson, with away movement somehow passing a defensive stroke to shave the off bail.
Tom Latham was dropped at second slip by Zak Crawley, only for the left-hander to be bowled through the gate, then Broad completed a quartet of strikes on the stumps to get Tom Blundell.
In between, Ollie Robinson had Henry Nicholls caught behind and at one stage New Zealand were 28-5 before Daryl Mitchell and Michael Bracewell somehow battled to the close.
Dependable Foakes builds England’s lead
Pyrotechnics were expected when England resumed in glorious batting conditions on 79-2, 98 ahead. Though ‘nighthawk’ Broad fell to the fourth ball he faced, the tourists did not disappoint.
Pope pulled Wagner for three sixes, while Brook continued to exhibit his rare talent with a 37-ball half-century. With Wagner banging the ball in, Brook repeatedly slapped him, baseball-style, back down the ground.
But Brook’s edge off Blair Tickner and the dismissal of a furious Root, out reverse-sweeping for the second time in the Test, left England 237-6 at lunch, their lead a precarious 256.
Foakes, though, is developing a habit of making important runs. Batting above Stokes, he combined with the captain in the second session for a calm and crucial stand of 56.
Tested by the short ball, Foakes hooked and pulled, he clipped off his toes and played superb back-foot punches. Even after Stokes was stumped by a distance off Bracewell, Foakes added a further 42 with Robinson.
Though Foakes edged Tickner behind just after he passed 50, Robinson continued on to make 39. Even Jack Leach and Anderson added 16 for the final wicket, but their fun was nothing compared to what was to come from Broad.
‘Broad was phenomenal’ – reaction
England bowler Stuart Broad, speaking to BT Sport: “Baz’s [coach Brendon McCullum] mantra as a team is to entertain people who come and watch us. If you’ve paid your ticket today, it’s been pretty enjoyable.
“I feel very lucky to have been born in the same era as Jimmy because without him, I wouldn’t have been able to be at the other end taking wickets in the partnership that we’ve had.
“I’ve learnt so much from him throughout my career and he’s probably the reason I’m still going at 36. He’s a great leader to follow.”
Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook on BT Sport: “Broad always has a way of making an impact on the game. He was unplayable, relentlessly good. He was phenomenal.
“It’s the Stuart Broad we’ve come to know and we should admire him.”