England require 113 runs more for series sweep

LEEDS, June 26: England require 113 runs more with eight wickets in hand to complete another exciting final-day victory against New Zealand in the third Test at Headingley.
Needing 296 for a series sweep, England got to 183-2 by stumps on day four.
Ollie Pope scored an unbeaten 81 while Joe Root was also unbeaten on 55, the two putting on 132 after Alex Lees was run out for just nine and Zak Crawley caught for 25.
After successfully chasing 277 in the first Test and 299 in the second, a win in Leeds will hand England a 3-0 series clean sweep over the World Test champs.
Earlier, New Zealand resumed on 168-5 – 137 ahead – before Tom Blundell’s 88 not out took the Kiwis to a respectable enough total.
Blundell, overturned an lbw decision on 52 before being dropped on 67. Along with Daryl Mitchell, he stitched up their fourth century stand of the series.
But Mitchell was out lbw for 56 to Matthew Potts in the afternoon session before Jack Leach picked up the last four wickets for only 35 runs to finish figures of 5-66 while also claiming his first 10-wicket match haul in Tests.
If England win, they will become the first team to chase a total of 250 and more three times in a row.
Prior to the series, England had won only one of their past 17 Tests. In fact, chasing a total of close to 300 would have seemed impossible.
But the reformation in the English camp with new coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes appears to have had a strong positive impact.
Last week at Trent Bridge, the hosts chased 299 in just 50 overs despite having a total of 72 overs to achieve the target.
This time, with four sessions to attain their target, England batted more cautiously despite scoring at four an over. One of the highlights was Joe Root playing a scoop for six off Neil Wagner.
New Zealand’s spinner Michael Bracewell, looked ineffective while pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee didn’t find movement on a flat pitch.
The responsibility will now lie on Pope and Root’s shoulders to anchor the innings for the English side.
Showers have been forecast on Monday morning, although there should be enough time for either side to force a win. (Agencies)

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