Batting woes leave England on verge of series defeat to New Zealand


ngland are on the verge of a first home Test series defeat since 2014 after a batting collapse left New Zealand within sight of victory at Edgbaston.

Trailing the tourists by 85 runs at the end of the first innings, England’s fragile batting lineup fell apart as they slumped to 76 for seven.

It took tailenders Mark Wood and Olly Stone to take the embarrassment of an innings loss off the table but after limping to stumps on 122 for nine – still just 37 in front – there will be nowhere to hide on day four.

Sri Lanka were the last touring side to deal England a bloody nose on their own soil but New Zealand are now certain to land a first win here in 22 years.

England had earlier bowled out the opposition for 388 and began their torrid stint with a thankless six-over spell before tea.

All the ingredients were there for New Zealand to force home their position but the brevity of England’s resistance was remarkable nonetheless.

Rory Burns, the home side’s form batsman, left the first ball of the innings but was immediately tempted to push at Matt Henry’s second. It was a nondescript stroke aimed in the general direction of extra cover but instead ended up in Tom Latham’s hands at slip.

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Dom Sibley fared only marginally better with eight but was still in the pavilion before tea, squared up and poking as Henry probed away on a good line. This time the chance flew to Daryl Mitchell in the cordon but he was no less secure than his captain.

The interval offered a brief respite for England but things went from bad to worse in the evening session, with Zak Crawley next on the Kiwis’ chopping block.

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