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England v New Zealand: third Test, day three – live!

“Farewell Jamie Overton, the Spud-we-Liked,” writes Dan. “Well done, you played out of your skin.”

59th over: England 300-7 (Bairstow 158, Broad 0) Time for YJB to fully release the handbrake? It looks that way, another punchy drive off Wagner taking England past the 300 mark. The hosts trail by just 28 runs.

58th over: England 296-7 (Bairstow 153, Broad 0) Swing and a miss from Broad, but he sees out the over. Bairstow and Overton’s partnership is finally broken after 241 runs.

Bairstow jogs over to throw an arm around Overton, who trudges off to a big ovation. As cruel as it is for him, Boult deserved something for his efforts so far this morning. Who’s in next to calm things down? It’s Stuart Broad

Oh no. It’s heartbreak for Jamie Overton, with Boult’s relentless pressure paying off as the batter goes looking for a boundary, and edges low to Daryl Mitchell, who gets under it smartly.

57th over: England 295-6 (Bairstow 152, J Overton 97) Bairstow’s 150 is the second-fastest by an England batter in a Test match, behind only his current captain. Now, can Overton get to his own milestone? He prods a very wide one away to move one run closer.

150 for Bairstow! Off Neil Wagner’s bowling, Bairstow’s drive is well fielded by Williamson, but Bairstow gallops for two anyway, then sets off on a celebratory loop around the wicket. He is absolutely loving life, and why shouldn’t he?

56th over: England 290-6 (Bairstow 148, J Overton 96) Bairstow and Overton both raise their arms in frustration at more movement up in the hospitality boxes. Overton channels his irritation expertly, finding the gap to move within four of what could be an extraordinary century.

55th over: England 286-6 (Bairstow 148, J Overton 92) Boult ends the previous over with a shot at Overton but gets no joy – much to the relief of the poor soul in the Sky control room who had cut to an advert a ball early.

Southee continues, and Overton edges closer with a single, complete with full-length dive as Williamson shies at the stumps. Then a beauty from Bairstow, steered between mid-on and midwicket with surgical precision.

54th over: England 278-6 (Bairstow 141, J Overton 91) Four! The Western Terrace murmurs into life as Bairstow slaps Boult dismissively through the covers. Which reminds me – this is quite the statistic:

Shahid Afridi
Brendon McCullum
Jonny Bairstow

Men’s Test batters to make consecutive Test tons, while passing 100 with a strike rate of 100+#ENGvNZ #bbccricket

— Mark Puttick (@GryllidaeC) June 24, 2022

53rd over: England 270-6 (Bairstow 134, J Overton 91) An early Bairstow single puts Overton on strike, and Southee has him stepping forward with a wide delivery that zips low off the wicket. New Zealand are offering plenty of threat, but no breakthrough yet.

52nd over: England 269-6 (Bairstow 133, J Overton 91) There’s a brief pause as Overton gets a new pad brought out – he damaged the old one diving to make the crease. Just one over for Bracewell, as Boult returns. Overton edges one short of the slips, and fumbles at another. He’s in the nervous 90s, alright – and that’s a maiden for Boult.

51st over: England 269-6 (Bairstow 133, J Overton 91) Tim Southee is in next, hoping the stiff breeze blowing across Headingley can add some menace to his outswingers. Overton plays at one and misses, before Bairstow runs a risky double. He then leaves the final ball of the over, which jags in perilously close to off-stump. Nerve-jangling stuff already.

“I was intrigued by Jonathan Liew’s excellent piece on Trent Boult, in which he likened batting to the cycle of death whereas bowling was about (re)birth,” writes Brian Withington.

“I am moved to wonder where fielding sits on the existential plane? Is it perhaps the Big Sleep that precedes or follows life (especially if you are posted at fine leg and mid on)?”

50th over: England 266-6 (Bairstow 131, J Overton 90) Bairstow on strike and New Zealand start with Michael Bracewell’s spin. It’ll be 31 overs until the tourists can get their hands on the new ball. A single apiece for the batters, Overton moving into the 90s.

Here we go, then. The players are out at Headingley, where the sun is intermittently shining. England resume on 264-6, trailing New Zealand by 65 runs. It’s up for grabs!

This image will haunt my dreams …

“This match should ideally end with Stokes and Root at the crease, winning it with a boundary,” says John Starbuck. “What could go wrong?”

You can get in touch with me via email or tweet @niallmcveigh. And here’s the link for TMS, if you’re outside the UK.

Start your day with Jonathan Liew on Trent Boult, bowling and rebirth.

If batting is analogous to the cycle of existence and death, then bowling is more akin to the miracle of fertilisation and birth. The odds of success are infinitesimal, and yet still you keep trying and failing, swimming against the indomitable tide, striving for the prize of life itself. This is why – mentally speaking – batters end their careers drawn and empty, while bowlers get stronger and stronger. Batters are constantly dying. Bowlers are constantly being reborn.

Are you not entertained? With the series already won, Ben Stokes promised thrills in this third and final Test, and his team have delivered. Yesterday it felt as if the wheels were coming off the jalopy, six wickets down with 55 runs on the board and 12 overs bowled. But maybe it was all part of the plan.

At Trent Bridge, Jonny Bairstow’s 136 from 92 balls swung the second Test the hosts’ way. Before Headingley, his captain gazed into his crystal ball. “At some point this week, we have to do it with the ball or the bat. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw something similar to what Jonny did last week.”

And here we are, with the revitalised Bairstow on 130 from 126, heaving the pendulum improbably back towards the hosts again. Stokes had also called on Jamie Overton to “show the world what he’s got” – he probably meant breaking rather than building batting partnerships, but who really knows any more?

In his early days as captain, Stokes seems to have found a way to transfer his knack for comic-book heroics onto his teammates. England resume here with New Zealand’s first-innings total of 329 in sight. The tourists, who have contributed so much to this thrilling series, are grasping to regain control.

Then again, in this weird and wonderful new England era, control is overrated. Play starts at 11am (BST), but after that, there’s little point predicting anything.

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