Leeds [UK], June 28 (ANI): Following his side's Test clean sweep over New Zealand, England Test captain Ben Stokes has said that to walk away with a 3-0 win over the best team in the world is a special start to his tenure as skipper.
England Test team began the Stokes-McCullum era with a dominant clean sweep over New Zealand. Powerful knocks from Joe Root (86*) and Jonny Bairstow (71*) guided the hosts to a thumping seven-wicket win over the Kiwis in the final Test at Headingley in Leeds on Monday.
"It has gone really well. To walk away with a 3-0 series win over the best team in the world is a special start. When I took over this job, it was about changing the mindset of the guys towards Test cricket, was about having fun. Huge amount of credit to Brendon (McCullum) and the backroom staff. Trent Bridge was fantastic," said Stokes in a post-match conference.
"Being 55/6 and to do what we did the manner we did (here), that was something special. Pottsy (Matty Potts) has taken it like fish to water. This game, he has been incredible. Broady (Stuart Broad), even at 36, bowled 50 overs this week. I wanted to push the lads to see what they were capable. Fantastic to see Leachy taking 10 wickets. I have never seen a happier dressing room for an individual's success. Different opposition (India), we still have a series to draw. We will come out with exactly the same mindset," he added.
Chasing 296, England was not off the finest start, opener Alex Lees was run out for just 9 at the team's score of 17. Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope resumed the chase for England. Their promising stand was cut short at 34-runs after Crawley was dismissed for 25 by spinner Michael Bracewell after being caught by skipper Kane Williamson.
From then on, Ollie Pope and Joe Root took complete control of England's innings. The duo hit the bowlers around the park. Pope and Root continued their good run in the series, getting to their half-centuries.
The 134-run stand between the duo ended after Southee clean bowled Pope for 82 off 108 with 12 fours.
With England 185/3, The duo of Root and Jonny Bairstow was at the crease. Root kept one end steady while Bairstow continued his explosive run in the second innings as well, bringing his half-century in just 30 balls.
The duo stitched a quickfire 111-run stand, earning their side a seven-wicket win, with Root (86*) and Bairstow scoring an explosive 71 off just 44 balls. Earlier in the third innings, New Zealand were bundled out for 326. The duo of Daryl Mitchell (56) and wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell (88*) once again shined for the Kiwis. Tom Latham also scored a valuable 76.
Spinner Jack Leach was the star for England with the ball, taking 5/66 while medium-pacer Matty Potts also shined with a brilliant 3/66. With this, New Zealand gained a 295-run lead, giving English a target of 296 runs to complete the clean sweep.
In the second innings, England had scored 360/10. Jonny Bairstow struck a delightful 162 while debutant Jamie Overton stole the show with a brilliant 97, stitching a vital 241-run stand with Bairstow which revived England's fortunes in the match after Boult reduced them to 55/6 initially.
The pace duo of Trent Boult (4/104) and Tim Southee (3/100) shined for the Kiwis in the second innings. But at this point, England had gained a 31-run lead in the match.
In the first innings, elected to bat first, New Zealand posted 329 runs on the board. The Mitchell-Blundell duo once again took Kiwis out of trouble, stitching a 120-run stand. Mitchell finished with 109 and Blundell scored 55. Captain Kane Williamson (31) and Tim Southee (33) posted other notable contributions. (ANI)