Berliner Boersenzeitung - Pope, Lees lead England fightback against New Zealand

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Pope, Lees lead England fightback against New Zealand
Pope, Lees lead England fightback against New Zealand / Photo: Paul ELLIS - AFP

Pope, Lees lead England fightback against New Zealand

Ollie Pope and Alex Lees led England's fightback against New Zealand as the hosts reached 195-2 at lunch on the third day of the second Test at Trent Bridge

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Replying to New Zealand's mammoth first innings score of 553, Pope and Lees have put England back in contention to at least force a draw.

Taking advantage of underwhelming New Zealand bowling on a docile pitch, Lees compiled his highest Test score of 67 before becoming the only England batsman to perish in Sunday's morning session.

Pope, still getting accustomed to his new role as England's number three, is unbeaten on 84 as the 24-year-old aims to score his second Test hundred.

Ominously for New Zealand, Joe Root is 35 not out as he picked up where he left off at Lord's

Root scored a match-winning 115 not out in England's thrilling five-wicket victory over the Test world champions in the opening game of the three-match series.

Daryl Mitchell's Test-best 190 and Tom Blundell's 106 on Saturday had put New Zealand in position to potentially level the series if their bowlers could fare better than England's.

But England were able to replicate New Zealand's success in conditions perfectly suited to batting.

Lees resumed on 34, while Pope had reached 51 not out overnight, with both having survived a dropped catch by Mitchell.

Sending a message that England were primed to emulate New Zealand's run spree, Lees slapped Tim Southee's third ball of the day to the square-leg boundary.

Pope edged Trent Boult short of Tom Latham at second slip, but Lees put the Kiwis back on the defensive with a glorious drive to the rope.

With both batsmen looking comfortable, the partnership raced past 100, giving England only their second century stand for the second wicket since July 2020.

Lees reached his assured 50 in fitting style with a composed clip to the boundary followed by a modest celebratory wave of the bat.

The Durham opener, who had a top score of 31 from his first eight Test innings, had taken 109 balls to make his half-century.

Kyle Jamieson tried to ruffle Lees with a bouncer into the ribs, but he had the perfect riposte with a deft jab down to the third-man boundary.

Just he looked poised for a century, Lees paid the price for a rare rush of blood.

Losing his concentration immediately after the drinks break, the 29-year-old needlessly chased a wide ball from Matt Henry and edged it to Mitchell in the slips.

Root played and missed at a teasing delivery from Henry, but quickly recovered his equilibrium by caressing an elegant four off the same bowler.

Just before lunch, Root escaped when he top-edged Boult to Southee, who allowed the ball to squirm through his hands as he raised them high above his head in a failed bid to make a tough catch.

(U.Gruber--BBZ)