Broad drags England level


Published: Sunday 31st May 2015 by The News Editor

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Stuart Broad’s late counter-attack helped England turn a spot of bother into exact parity with New Zealand in the second Investec Test at Headingley.

The hosts appeared sure to concede a significant first-innings deficit after Tim Southee (four for 83) made the most of cloud cover and swing on the third morning.

England, whose reply to 350 all out had begun with great substance in an opening stand of 177, began to falter on Saturday night thanks largely to Southee’s seam-and-swing partner Trent Boult.

Then after heavy overnight and some residual morning rain, their decline extended to the loss of seven wickets for 52 runs.

But ninth-wicket pair Broad and Mark Wood decided there had been enough unsuccessful defence against the moving ball, and responded accordingly in a much-needed stand of 51.

Broad needed a little luck on nine and then 17 as first BJ Watling just failed to pull off an outsanding, diving catch at deep mid-wicket off Boult and then the left-armer could not cling on to a fierce straight-drive back at him.

Wood was more convincing, driving Boult square on the up and then pulling him for fours, until – having forced Brendon McCullum into a change he had doubtless hoped would not be necessary – he was caught-behind trying to attack off-spinner Mark Craig.

Broad was not yet done. He survived another half-chance when he edged Southee, switched to the Football Stand end, high through the gloves of wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi.

Following up his five wickets, at a venue where he had made two of his 10 Test 50s, he eventually fell four runs short of another when he was bowled aiming to hit Matt Henry to leg.

This was still the highest score he has made in eight Test innings since having his nose broken by India seamer Varun Aaron at Old Trafford last year, and ensured he and his fellow bowlers could start again with scores level on first innings.

Southee had earlier taken three wickets for just six runs, with the second ball still new after a slightly delayed start.

They all came via slip catches, an out-of-form Ian Bell first to edge some full-length swing to Craig from the second ball he faced on the resumption.

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali then went in the same over, each neatly caught from low edges.

England were left with only two tail-end wickets standing, and it was hard to see how they could get through to anywhere near lunch in awkward conditions.

But Broad and Wood had other ideas.

England added 83 for their last two wickets, in just 89 balls.

Then, in four overs of batting before lunch, the Kiwis nosed back in front on seven without loss.

Published: Sunday 31st May 2015 by The News Editor

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