What we witnessed on Tuesday is iconic and should be remembered for a long time. England beat Newzealand in the 2nd Test by 5 wickets. The team has now sealed the series win as they lead by 2-0.
Day5 started with Newzealand having only 3 wickets in hand and a good lead to push the game towards a draw. But those who have seen England in 2019 and believe that the captaincy and management change has brought some fundamental developments to the team, had a hope that this long Test might see a result.
Daryl Mitchell was the last standing batter who could stretch the 2nd innings. Apart from the top order batters, Will Young (56) and Conway (52), none of the batters contributed well to build the 2nd innings. Kiwis already had a lead of 14 runs from the first innings and they added another 284 runs to it giving a target of 299 for England to chase.
England bowlers performed wonderfully as they were able to restrict the Black Caps below 300 runs. Ben Foakes had earlier reassured that any score below 300 is chasable and that’s what must have given them the confidence to go for the win. Stuart Broad took 3 wickets in the 2nd innings while Anderson and Potts took 2 each.
Chasing a total of 299, England started with fire. From the over-1 the approach was clear. To hit it big and seal it early. Alex Lees started with fire but after losing his partner, got his innings in control. Losing a couple of more early wickets, England’s desire to finish the game in their favor looked questionable but Bairstow had something else in mind. He came, he saw and he conquered. The batter went on to hit 92 balls 136, an inning that we have not seen in a long time.
The inning reminded you of Ben Stokes’ phenomena from Headingley, it reminded you of Rishabh Pant’s heroics from Gabba. Bairstow has his name imprinted in golden words. Ben Stokes who has done the deed earlier and he knew how to do it again. At a time, England was hitting at the rate of 11 runs per over which ensured that spectators didn’t have a single dull second on Day 5. The team chased the target in 50 overs, making it look so easy, keeping it modest.
Newzealand bowlers couldn’t get much help from the flat Trent Bridge pitch that looked great for batting. The sun peeked from time to time ensuring its help to the batters. England’s intent was more powerful than the Kiwi’s bowling attack and there we had our winner, just in time.
The game saw 5 centuries being made in the last 5 days but one performance that was exceptional and changed the match completely was unarguably Jonny Bairstow’s 136. Ben Stokes even called it better than his Headingley innings and for good reason, he was presented the Player of the Match award.
For the past few years, England has been facing slack for their performance in Tests. They changed almost everything about their approach and the results look magnificent. From Jonny to Stokes, everyone mentioned the same in the post-match presentation but the happiness on the face of players assured us that Test Cricket is alive and England will keep it thriving.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Jonny Bairstow