Daryl Mitchell continued his splendid run in Test cricket as the New Zealand player became the first Kiwis player in 73 years to score 400 runs in a Test series against England. Mitchell scored an unbeaten 87 at Headingley in Leeds after his team was slumped to 123 for five after deciding to bat first on Friday. The BlackCaps all-rounder has scored 423 runs so far in five innings at an average of 150.33, with two tons and as many half-centuries under his belt. (Also Read | ‘India have gone away from Ashwin, Chahar…’: Manjrekar identifies 3 ‘game-changing’ spinners ahead of T20 World Cup)
Mitchell, who surpassed the tally of former Kiwis batter Bert Sutcliffe, earned high praise from Rajasthan Royals’ director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara. The Sri Lankan batting icon explained how Mitchell’s stellar run links to his hard work and discipline during the two-month bio-bubble of the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) edition.
“He carried his iPad to every team meeting, took notes and asked questions. It wasn’t asking questions for the sake of asking questions, he was heavily involved. The way he carried himself, in a bio-bubble for over two months, the hard work he put in at the nets despite playing two matches, it was top-class,” Sangakkara said on Sky Sports commentary during Day 1 of the ongoing third Test.
Mitchell played just two games for Rajasthan Royals but made a smooth transition from T20 set-up to red-ball format. He kept the scoreboard ticking along in an unbroken century partnership with Tom Blundell as the pair steered New Zealand to 225 for five at the close of play on opening day.
England paceman Stuart Broad removed Tom Latham in the first over of the day and later captured the prize wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Spinner Jack Leach struck on his first ball, trapping Will Young lbw for 20.
Jaime Overton, who was presented with his England cap at the start of the day by his twin, got in on the act after lunch with his first Test wicket. He removed Devon Conway, who tried to drive a full-length delivery but ended up dragging an inside edge.
England are looking to make it three wins out of three under their new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and Test coach Brendon McCullum, a former New Zealand skipper. The World Test champions are falling 2-0 behind in the three-match series.