England vs NZ, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge

Lunch England 195 for 2 (Pope 84*, Lees 67, Root 35*) trail New Zealand 553 (Mitchell 190, Blundell 106) by 358 runs

Alex Lees, the England opener, came into this second Test against New Zealand knowing full well he could do with making “a good score” but also believing that he could.

So it would have been with a mix of encouragement and disappointment that he reached a maiden Test fifty in his ninth innings but fell a short time later as Matt Henry prised apart a 141-run stand between Lees and Ollie Pope with England continuing their solid pursuit of New Zealand’s first-innings 553.

By lunch on the third day at Trent Bridge, Pope was nearing his second Test century at 84 not out with Joe Root, the hero of England’s first-Test victory at Lord’s, looking good once more in reaching an unbeaten 35 from 43 balls – including seven fours – by the interval. England were 195 for 2, still trailing by 358 runs.

Lees produced some fluid drives off the front foot during the course of his innings and brought up his half-century with a four through square leg off Kyle Jamieson.

Having been dropped by Daryl Mitchell at slip on 12 during the second evening – one of two missed chances by the architect of New Zealand’s mammoth score with his knock of 190 – Lees ultimately fell for 67, driving at a Henry delivery well outside off-stump and edging to Mitchell, who held on this time.

The nature of the shot left a pall of ‘opportunity lost’ over the innings for Lees, who came into the match with 171 Test runs, including a highest score of 31.

The tourists failed to take another chance when Root, on 27, top-edged an attempt to cut Trent Boult, the ball flying high and through Tim Southee’s outstretched hands at second slip.

Pope continued to look solid after resuming for the day on 51 as he tries to cement his place at No. 3, finding the boundary with authority either side of the wicket to take his tally so far to eight fours alongside his two sixes from Saturday.

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