Jack Leach and Ollie Pope have England on course for a Test series sweep of New Zealand

England closes 183-2 in their 296-game chase to beat New Zealand at Headingley to complete a 3-0 Test series sweep; Jack Leach completed his first 10-wicket Test of the match as the Black Caps were eliminated by 326 before Ollie Pope and Joe Root put England in control of the chase.

England are on course to seal a 3-0 series sweep of Test world champions New Zealand after counting contributions from Jack Leach and Ollie Pope on day four at Headingley.

Left-arm spinner Leach (5-66) took his second five-wicket haul of the match, finishing with figures of 10-166, to eliminate New Zealand 326 (Tom Blundell was top scorer with an unbeaten 88) and leave England . with another tempting chase: 296 the goal of victory.

By stumps, the home team was more than halfway to their goal, closing at 183-2, scoring more than 4.5 runs higher during the evening session as Pope (81st) and Joe Root (55th) shared an unbroken 132 for the third gate.

England go into day five with a further 113 needed to win, and Pope will have his sights set on a third Test hundred, while New Zealand need a dramatic turnaround if they are to avoid the shutout.

The day began with the news that Ben Foakes, who was sidelined on the third day with a stiff back, had tested positive for covid-19, with Sam Billings recruited as a similar replacement.

The wicketkeeper might have changed, but it was otherwise a familiar story as England, try as they might, were unable to break the Mitchell-Blundell partnership during a wicketless morning session.

Matt Potts passed the rim several times early, Stuart Broad (0-63) also held it tight, but the wicket didn’t come.

Leach thought he had it midway through the session when Mitchell was given lbw, but the batsman checked and it was shown he was going over the line.

England had two overs on the new ball before lunch, but it was New Zealand that celebrated a trio of milestones after the break, Blundell and Mitchell going to their sixth and fourth Test half-century respectively, and a fourth-century association of the series between the pair that comes in the middle.

The change came with the reintroduction of Potts. The Durham closer began his spell with a full shot to Blundell, angled on the stumps to hit the right hand at the bag. A great call was received by referee Kettleborough raising the finger of him.

Blundell opted to check and justified himself when tracking the ball showed it sliding down his leg.

Jack Leach took another five to finish with match figures of 10-166

However, Potts (3-66) was undeterred and four balls later he hit the bag again. This time it was Mitchell, who had shuffled his stumps, raised his finger once more and this time, the review didn’t save him and a partnership that has totaled 704 throughout the series has been broken for the last time.

Leach had also started to cause trouble, and after being thwarted twice by Blundell poking the ball between Billings and Joe Root on the first slip, Michael Bracewell (9) gifted his fellow spinner a second wicket of the inning.

Having hit a long six on two balls before, Bracewell tried to go big again and Zak Crawley didn’t have to move on a deep square leg before bagging the catch.

From there the end came quickly for the Blacks Caps. 10 overs later they were all out and Leach was getting the ball up to the crowd after completing his second five for of the match and 10 wickets in two innings.

Tim Southee (2) was brought down by a sliding ball, later in the same on Neil Wagner (0) was caught from behind -Billings somehow managed to catch the ball between his knees to complete the catch- and finally , Trent Boult (4) was castled as he came running down the field to strand Blundell.

The England chase began after tea and after breaking the top order in the early innings, Boult started well again and should have had the wicket for Crawley before the troubled opener went off the mark.

The right chased a wide one and sent a thick edge high into the second slide. Southee put her hands on his head, but the ball broke through and skidded over the fence.

Alex Lees wasn’t so lucky as Crawley lined the left of Kane Williamson down the middle, probably expecting four for that. However, with Lees coming down the middle of the field looking for a single, Williamson made a brilliant save, flicked the ball, and Boult returned to the stumps just in time to pick up the ball and take the bails in one quick motion to send to You read. (9) packing.

Crawley, for his part, turned up all over the sea and decided his best option in this era of ‘Bazball’ was to try to get out of trouble.

Initially it worked with four crisp limits coming from a Boult and another coming from a powerful slow sweep from Bracewell, but he eventually caught up.

Williamson filled the field on the leg side as Crawley met Bracewell’s spin, prompting him to hit offside and England’s first goal fell straight into the trap. A ball flown out, with good length and Crawley (25) headed straight for the booming ball and when the ball sank late he could only pass it to the New Zealand captain with extra cover.

That brought Root into the fold to join Pope and New Zealand quickly burned through two reviews trying to get rid of him.

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