Bairstow, Root power England to series sweep

After the first session was washed out due to rain on the final day, England, resuming at 183 for two, motored to 296 for three in the middle session.
Joe Root (right) and Jonny Bairstow guided England home with their 111-run stand
Joe Root (right) and Jonny Bairstow guided England home with their 111-run stand

LEEDS: A dominant England swept New Zealand 3-0 in the Test series with an aggressive seven-wicket victory in the third and final match on Monday.

After the first session was washed out due to rain on the final day, England, resuming at 183 for two, motored to 296 for three in the middle session. “A 3-0 win against the best team in the world, it is absolutely phenomenal,” Ben Stokes said after his team beat the world Test champion in his debut Test series as captain.

“It is about the change of the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket. To say that we have done it so quickly is unbelievable. Huge credit to (head coach) Brendon [McCullum] and the backroom staff,” added Stokes.

Joe Root (86 not out off 125 balls, 11 fours, 1 six) and Jonny Bairstow (71 not out off 44 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes) flayed the New Zealand bowlers at Headingley, hitting boundaries at will in a blistering 111-run stand, as England cruised to the target in just over an hour on the fifth day. Bairstow, whose masterful 162 lifted England from a precarious 55 for six in the first innings, played yet another aggressive knock.

He registered England’s second fastest Test half-century off just 30 balls. New Zealand had started the day on a high as pacer Tim Southee (1/68) had Ollie Pope (82) clean bowled in the first over when play resumed after lunch.

Pope, who hit 12 boundaries, took the match away from New Zealand with a brilliant 134-run stand with Root before his off stump was knocked over by Southee. But, Bairstow once again exhibited his power-hitting prowess as he provided Stokes and McCullum a perfect start to their new roles.

“It has been an incredible series,” said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. “There is a new theme to its (England’s) approach. It won those fine margins that went a long way in perhaps deciding the outcome of the match.”

BRIEF SCORES: New Zealand 329 & 326 lost to England 360 & 296/3 in 54.2 overs (J Root 86*, O Pope 82, J Bairstow 71*)

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