Cricket: Jonny Bairstow century overshadows Daryl Mitchell as England seize initiative against Blackcaps

The Blackcaps have let control of the third test against England slip through their fingers, as the hosts ended day two 65 runs behind at Leeds' Headingley.

After a third century in three tests to Daryl Mitchell (109) lifted the Blackcaps to 329 all out in their first innings, the Blackcaps' bowlers had England on the ropes at 55/6 in reply.

But an unbroken 209-run partnership between Jonny Bairstow (130 not out) and debutant Jamie Overton (89 not out) has lifted England to 264/6 from just 49 overs at the end of the second day's play, and will have the hosts in sight of a first innings lead when day three begins on Saturday.

Daryl Mitchell celebrates at Headingley.
Daryl Mitchell celebrates at Headingley. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

Resuming at 225/5, Mitchell and Tom Blundell returned to the wicket, and reached another century stand between them. 

Blundell passed fifty for the third time in the series, after also doing so at Lord's and scoring a century at Trent Bridge, but departed for 55 from 122 balls when he was trapped lbw by Matty Potts at 243/6. Blundell will be forgiven for feeling aggrieved, though, as a fault with the decision review system (DRS) left him unable to challenge the call, with suggestion the ball was going to miss leg stump.

Mitchell pressed on, and brought up his fourth test century, and third of the series, before lunch, and took New Zealand's total over 300.

But at 325/7, Mitchell was caught superbly by England captain Ben Stokes off the bowling of Jack Leach, after adding 60-runs in 55 balls with Tim Southee (33).

Mitchell's wicket triggered a lower order collapse, as the Blackcaps lost their last three wickets for four runs, with Leach claiming a five-wicket haul with figures of 5/100.

In response, Trent Boult knocked the top off England's batting order, clean bowling Alex Lees (4), Ollie Pope (5) and Zak Crawley (6) to have the hosts reeling at 17/3.

Southee dismissed first test hero Joe Root (5), out caught behind by Blundell at 21/4, while the returning Neil Wagner had Stokes (18) caught by Williamson, before trapping Ben Foakes lbw for a duck.

That left England in a precarious situation as Overton joined Bairstow, as the hosts needed a partnership to save their innings.

And after his match-winning knock at Trent Bridge, Bairstow picked up where he left off, playing on his Yorkshire home ground.

The 32-year-old raced to a 51-ball half-century, and converted it into his 10th test hundred, needing just 95 balls to get there, with 60 of those runs coming in boundaries.

At the other end, Overton showed he's no mug with the bat in his first appearance for his country, hitting seven fours and one six on his way to a 68-ball debut fifty. The 28-year-old will return to the crease on day three, just 11 runs away from his maiden test century.

The pair took England past 100, then 150, then 200 and 250, bringing up a double-century stand between them for the seventh wicket in only 209 balls.

By the time stumps arrived, it was the Blackcaps that needed the end of play, as England had seized all the momentum in the quest for a series whitewash.

New Zealand 329 (Mitchell 109, Blundell 55; Leach 5/100)
England 264/6 (Bairstow 130 not out, Overton 89 not out; Boult 3/73)