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England defy rain delay to seal New Zealand whitewash in third Test

England defy rain delay to seal New Zealand whitewash
© Reuters
England, aided by yet another swashbuckling Jonny Bairstow innings, wrap up a 3-0 series win against New Zealand with a seven-wicket victory at Headingley.

England have recorded a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand at Headingley, aided by yet another swashbuckling innings from Jonny Bairstow.

The home side started the final day of the third Test and three-match series on 183-2, requiring a further 114 runs to conclude a thrilling series in fitting style.

However, two separate rain delays threatened to turn the game into an anti-climax, wiping out the opening couple of hours, but England did not hang around when the action resumed.

Although New Zealand were boosted by the early wicket of Ollie Pope (82), that only allowed Bairstow to make an earlier-than-anticipated arrival at the crease.

After his 162 from the first innings, the Yorkshireman, playing at his home ground, produced another spectacular knock, taking just 30 balls to reach his half-century.

Joe Root continued along at a far slower rate, giving his batting partner the freedom to attack what seemed like every delivery, and Bairstow sealed the win with his third six, ending on 71 from 44.

Root's 86 came from 125, the pair taking less than 15 overs to put on an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 111 to end the contest in style.

Despite Bairstow's efforts with the bat, it was spinner Jack Leach who received the Player Of The Match award after posting 10-166.

After the game, captain Ben Stokes told TMS: "When I took on this job it was more than about results for me. It was about a change of mindset for me - we want people to be feeling the love for Test cricket.

"I'm not 100% sure it has been lost but over the last three games I couldn't have asked for anything more. I said I wanted to be entertainers coming into the series and we've certainly done that.

"Sometimes the batting can overshadow the bowling with the way we play but for Jack Leach to take 10 wickets at Headingley, where it isn't renowned for taking wickets, and even the responsibility I've put on his shoulders and the overs he's bowled. It was fantastic to see and I'm just seeing him growing as a bowler and as a character as well."

England now head into a meeting with India, which is the fifth and concluding Test fixture after last year's series was halted at 2-1 to the tourists due to coronavirus.

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England batsman Jonny Bairstow celebrates hitting a century against New Zealand on June 14, 2022.
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