LEEDS, England (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell has likened the England series to a heavyweight boxing bout and thinks the Black Caps are still very much in the fight in the third test after a topsy-turvy day two at Headingley.
Mitchell’s third century of the series helped New Zealand to 329 on Friday but England charged back at them with Johnny Bairstow and Jamie Overton putting on 209 in an unbeaten seventh wicket stand to take the home side to 264 for six at stumps.
“It’s been the same theme throughout this whole series. As an onlooker on the sides, I reckon it would have been a hell of a game of cricket to be watching today, obviously the ebbs and flows,” Mitchell told reporters.
“We just linked it to almost a heavyweight boxing fight, the way both teams are throwing punches.”
After losing the first two tests, the Black Caps looked firmly on course for a consolation victory when they had England reeling at 55-6 on Friday, only for Bairstow and debutant Overton to snatch back the momentum.
Mitchell was not surprised at the aggressive English batting given the way new England coach Brendon McCullum once played the game for New Zealand.
“It was a great partnership but at the same time we’ve still got a lead and we know there’s a lot of cricket still to be played over the next three days,” he added.
“If we can chip out a couple early tomorrow morning, then it’s all game on again. Both teams are evenly poised and it will come down to small moments over the next three days as to who is going to win this one.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Sam Holmes)