ENG vs NZ: Watling hits 100, NZealand in control of 2nd test vs England
Leeds, England: B.J. Watling struck an unbeaten 100 and Brendon McCullum became the second Kiwi to pass 6,000 test runs as New Zealand seized control of the second test against England on Sunday, establishing a 338-run lead after day three.
England, ahead 1-0 in the two-match series, already needs to break its record fourth-innings run chase to stand a chance of victory — and its deficit is sure to soar.
With the teams tied after each scoring 350 in their first innings, New Zealand was in trouble at 23-2 before a third-wicket partnership of 99 between Martin Guptill (70) and Ross Taylor (48) repaired the early damage.
Watling and captain McCullum then came together just before tea with the result still in the balance at 141-4, and put on 121 runs to take the match away from England.
McCullum departed for 55, after joining compatriot Stephen Fleming in passing the 6,000-run milestone, but Watling was still there after reaching his fifth test century, becoming the first New Zealander to get triple figures at Headingley.
The Black Caps closed on 338-6, with their limited-overs-style attitude to test cricket proving hard to play against and thoroughly unsettling England's bowlers. At times, the tourists were scoring at quicker than a run a ball.
"In both innings, they're scoring at nearly five an over," said England bowling coach Ottis Gibson, looking perplexed. "I was sitting there thinking that the one-day series hasn't even started yet."
England's best run chase in a fourth innings is 332, made against Australia in 1928, and the world record is 418.
"There is still a lot of time left in the game," Gibson said. "If we can get a couple of wickets quickly and have 370 to chase, perhaps with the amount of time left in the game, who knows?"
New Zealand is looking to make it seven test series without defeat and the team's positive approach to the five-day game has been refreshing to behold.
It turned out to be a memorable day for the 33-year-old McCullum, who also discovered he'd been named on Queen Elizabeth II's birthday honors list. He was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Cricket, along with coach Mike Hesson.
McCullum is now on 6,008 runs in tests.
The test has turned sharply in the space of 24 hours.
Heading into the final hour of day two, England was 215-1 and within 135 runs of New Zealand's first-innings total. A late collapse against the new ball removed four batsmen and the meltdown continued on Sunday when Tim Southee enticed edges to the slips from Ian Bell (12), Jos Buttler (10) — the two overnight batsmen — and Moeen Ali (1) in the space of 17 balls in his first spell under cloudy skies.
Stuart Broad smashed 46 off 39 balls to help England achieve first-innings parity but New Zealand has motored away.
"It was a great day for us," Guptill said. "The pitch is getting tough. It's going to be tough batting over the next couple of days and hopefully our bowlers can exploit that."