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Resurgent England goes 1-0 up after Lord’s thriller

Stokes the star as New Zealand all out for 220 in final session of first Test

Resurgent England goes 1-0 up after Lord’s thriller - Cricket News
Resurgent England beat New Zealand by 124 runs to take 1-0 lead in the series.
Never in its long history have more people seen more runs at Lord’s than in the first Test of this two-match series between a resurgent England and as strong a New Zealand team as has left its shores. The New Zealanders were within ten overs of escaping with a draw when Moeen Ali finished the match in style, running and diving to catch Trent Boult’s uppercut just in front of the grand old Pavilion - which has seen a lot of cricket, but nothing quite like that.
 
The final day of a Test match full of endeavour and incident got off to a terrific start as Moeen struck boundaries and Boult took wickets. That it was all happening in front of an almost full house made it even better.
 
Alastair Cook was the first man to go, an epic innings terminated on its third day, his 162 prompting another standing ovation in a match not short of them. With an end open, the classy Boult charged through, England’s last three wickets adding just 22 to leave the home side 478 all out, the left-arm pacer picking up an excellent five-fer - his 34 overs costing 85 compared to Tim Southee’s same workload going for 162.
 
Boult’s brilliance had also removed the need for any declaration pondering and moved the game on, the equation now clear - New Zealand needed 345 runs and England 10 wickets with a minimum of 77 overs available to joust.
 
Having benefitted from a day with their feet up - and the Ben Stokes feel-good factor almost visible in the North London air - James Anderson and Stuart Broad charged in full of length and full of menace. Anderson’s peach of an outswinger was much too good for Martin Guptill, nicking off to Gary Ballance in the slips and Tom Latham missed a straight one from Broad, gone first ball. Ross Taylor couldn’t resist trying to work another straight one through leg giving Broad a second scalp. The visiting side was suddenly 12 for 3, the target disappearing into the distance and the game progressing at breakneck speed.
 
Still no Brendon McCullum though, the captain preferring to send in the mentally fresh BJ Watling to join the steadfast Kane Williamson, with every ball a challenge.
 
And none more so than those delivered by English cricket’s new hero, big Ben Stokes. Two whistled past Williamson’s outside edge before the next took enough of the bat and Joe Root snared a fine catch low down at gully. One of the world’s in-form batsmen had been sent back thanks to hostile and smart bowling, Stokes backing up yesterday’s fireworks with the bat with real pace with the ball.
 
Even better was to follow as, the very next ball, McCullum, the skipper and talisman for his side, could make nothing of a fast in-ducker that bowled him off thigh pad and bat. Stokes basked in the adulation of a crowd who hadn’t seen anything like this since Andrew Flintoff captured the nation’s hearts ten years ago.
 
Corey Anderson, taking the fight to Stokes in particular, and the busy and organised Watling, got through to tea, and continued to play sensibly as England ignored orthodoxy and tried bouncers and funky fields. Their stand was worth 107 and England was beginning to eye  the scoreboard with a growing anxiety, when Mark Wood, fast and straight, got one to lift and take Watling’s glove and Joe Root won an lbw decision, upheld on review with the umpire’s call prevailing. Both New Zealanders had scored half-centuries, but both got out just when the draw was becoming a possibility.
 
That left only Mark Craig, yorked by Stokes’s pace and personality,  Southee, well held by Moeen off his own bowling and Boult, remarkably pouched by Moeen off Broad. England had shared the wickets around, but Stokes, almost as irresistible bowling today as he was batting yesterday, was the undisputed star of the show.
 
England will take a 1-0 series lead to Leeds knowing that its opponent has the skills and the ticker for the fight. But England will also know that it has discovered two invaluable weapons: a genuine speedster in the skiddy, slingy Wood, who will be a real handful if it’s cloudy at Headingley, and an allrounder who can bend a match, maybe a nation, to his will. Get Stokes’s face on the posters now and watch those seats sell out.

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