True to forecast, it’s a bit cloudy in LS6 this morning. The balloon is still quite new. England will have chances.
It’s not often that a spinner takes center stage on a first day at Headingley, but things happen around Jack Leach there, and – after playing well with the hardball – he went on to take the most talked about wicket of the series. And here’s some pre-game reading about it from our Jonathan Liew:
Although those who have played the game at a more, uh, rudimentary level know that this sort of thing happens in our big game:
Who would have thought, at the start of this series, that his two most adamant New Zealand hitters would be Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell? But for the third test in a row here we are, with the pair adding to their restorative partnerships at Lord’s and Trent Bridge with another at Headingley, which meant a day that looked decidedly England’s ended even .
Of course, if England hadn’t been so oddly coy in opting against considering a denied stonewall lbw cry against Mitchell at eight, I could fill this preamble with more hymns to the Red-Ball Reset . We may still be able to do that later of course – this test is beautifully balanced and a few wickets in the first hour will put the hosts back in the ascendancy on a surface that looks like a delight to hit.
The weather, however, could turn a little more Headingley-ish in the coming days, which could add a note of danger and put a spring in the bowlers’ steps. Either way, you’ll want to keep following. It is in Leeds, where Stuff arrives, as we already saw yesterday with the extravagant sacking of Henry Nicholls.
Bring everything. The game starts at 11am BST.