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Foakes fifty helps England extend their advantage beyond 350

Foakes fifty helps England extend their advantage beyond 350

Ben Foakes’ tranquil fifty and England’s session of relative control allowed them to expand their lead over 350 runs. In order to guarantee that the runs scored in the first session would not go to waste, England reverted to a more cautious approach in the second session. Even though England lost Foakes when he reached fifty, Ollie Robinson and Jack Leach batted for 8.2 overs before the dinner break.

England resumed play following the Tea break with a 256-run lead but only four wickets in hand, putting them at risk of a collapse. After Joe Root’s dismissal in the penultimate over of the morning session, New Zealand was able to bowl at the England captain, who also often possesses an aggressive mindset. But, he and Foakes did not seek to press the pace of play like the top-order did in the first session, instead settling into a partnership that allowed England maintain their lead and extend it.

Eight overs into the session, Stokes hit Scott Kuggeleijn for a six over fine leg, becoming the batter with the most sixes in the format with 108. This hit put him ahead of his captain Brendon McCullum, who applauded enthusiastically when Stokes reached the milestone. Once the partnership reached 50 runs, Michael Bracwell struck with deft pace changes to dismiss Ben Stokes for 31 off 33 balls.

Ollie Robinson kept Foakes company while the latter continued to improve his route to his fourth Test fifty, much to New Zealand’s chagrin. He then clipped Tickner to the goalkeeper, leaving England eight goals behind. There was still no end in sight for New Zealand as Leach and Robinson prevented any additional harm from occurring during the session.

England concluded the session with a lead of 368 runs, 158 of which were scored in the first session’s fast-paced and risky play. Wagner’s short-pitched bowling was praised by New Zealand, but England’s Ollie Pope, Joe Root, and Harry Brook reaped the advantages. Wagner conceded almost 100 runs in 11 overs of bowling as England stormed away thanks to half-centuries from Root, Brook, and Pope.

England 325/9 decl. & 349/8 (Joe Root 57, Harry Brook 54, Ben Foakes 51, Ollie Pope 49; Blair Tickner 3-55) are in front of New Zealand 306 by 368 runs.



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