England vs New Zealand: Jonny Bairstow blasts England to thrilling win in second Test

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Jonny Bairstow was England’s hero as he bludgeoned a record and quite remarkable century to fire them to victory over New Zealand in the second Test at Trent Bridge.

The Yorkshireman hit 14 fours and seven sixes in a staggering ton – a ninth of his Test career – that came from 77 balls, just one delivery shy of Gilbert Jessop’s 120-year-old all-time English record.

His 136 proved pivotal as England chased down a Trent Bridge-record target of 299 in just 50 overs and with five wickets to spare to seal the victory and the series win, a first under new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

It was, fittingly, the skipper – hero of so many of these occasions in the colours of his country – who was alongside Bairstow at the wicket for a post-tea firework show where 102 runs came from just nine overs to turn the tide of a match decisively in England’s favour after it for so long looked wholly in the balance.

Earlier in the day, Stuart Broad made the required early inroads England needed with the ball to set up what would come later before Trent Boult, who became the most prolific Test No 11 in history in the process, added what the Black Caps thought would be priceless late-order runs as they posted 284.

A visibly revitalised Alex Lees started as this new England seem deadset to go on with positivity, even as Zak Crawley (0) failed to get a start for the second time in the match. The contest swung even further in New Zealand’s favour after lunch when first-innings centurion Ollie Pope (18) and then talisman Joe Root (3) departed in quick succession.

When Lees was also sent back to the pavilion by Tim Southee for an eye-catching 44, England still needed what looked an unlikely 20 runs to win. What followed proved to be even less believable.

When Bairstow and Stokes came together the task looked steep and remained so heading into the evening session with 160 still needed from just 38 overs. But the script flipped as Bairstow went on a barrage that will live in legend, hammering 93 runs off his next 44 deliveries as he and Stokes combined for a game-changing fifth-wicket stand of 179 to turn a nail-biting finale into little more than a cakewalk.

Bairstow’s knock was as brutal as it was brilliant as he routinely deposited Matt Henry’s short-pitched barrage over the square-leg fence. Debutant Michael Bracewell’s off-spin was given the same treatment as Bairstow seized the initiative and stood tall for his team when they needed him most.

The thrill-a-minute theatre played out in front of a capacity crowd of just under 18,000, whose day of epic entertainment came free after Nottinghamshire decided to throw the doors open for day five for nothing.

And the vast majority were in raptures when Stokes – visibly battling what looked to be a painful knee injury – flayed the winning boundary to end on 75 not out and kick off his reign in unforgettable fashion following last week’s win at Lord’s.



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