Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 10:12 IST

Watch! Sam Billings leaves fans stunned with a crazy catch during the Leeds Test Match


The era of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum has gotten off to a great start in test cricket. The duo saw England whitewash the current World Test Championship title holders New Zealand 3-0. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow pulverized the Kiwi attack as the hosts wrapped proceedings post lunch on the final day at Leeds. This series loss has all but put the defending champs out of  contention for a spot in the final of the WTC championship to be played at Lordโ€™s next year.

The story as it happened โ€“

Ben Foakes who is the regular wicket keeper for the England team was tested positive for COVID during the Leeds test. Sam Billings was given the task of being the stumper during the Leeds test. Billings so far has played just one test for England during the Ashes series late in 2021.

Billings makes his presence felt with a crazy catch โ€“

The 31 year old Sam Billings from Kent, perhaps pulled off the craziest catch seen this English summer. Jack Leach was bowling to Neil Wagner and the Kiwi score was 305 for 9 and a lead of 274. Thatโ€™s when Wagner got an edge off the bat and Billings spilled the initial chance. The wicket keeper however recovered in time as he saw the ball bounce of his legs and he grabbed onto the chance. The English players went up in unison and Wagner was out after it went up to the 3rd umpire.

England lose openers early in the chase โ€“

England were set a target of 296 to win by the Kiwis for a 3-0 clean sweep of the series. The home team lost opener Alex Lees for 9 when he was run out by Boult and Willamson. Zak Crawley endured under bad game when he was out for 25 off 33 balls with 6 fours to his name. Crawley fell to Bracewell when he was caught by Kiwi skipper Williamson.

Root and Pope up the scoring rate โ€“

At 51 for 2, England were suddenly in a tight spot, but Ollie Pope and Joe Root added 134 runs in 27 overs and scored at nearly 5 runs per over. This deflated the Kiwis as they were looking clueless as the runs ticked by at quick speed and the target seemed nearer with every passing ball. Tim Southee then got the key wicket of Pope when he had him bowled for 82 off 108 balls with 11 fours.

Bairstow pummels NZ to a series whitewash โ€“

The arrival of Brendon McCullum as the coach has put new life into Bairstow the test batter. Post his heroic 100 at Nottingham, the 32 year old Yorkshire lad scored a memorable 162 in the first innings of the Leeds test. In the 2nd innings he played a brutal knock of 71 off 44 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes. The 3rd six sealed the game for England and a series win with 3-0 scoreline.

Joe Root was not out on 86 off 125 balls with 11 fours and a six to end the series with 396 runs in the series with an average of 99.