It was a bizarre dismissal – and, after Colin de Grandhomme’s no-ball spared Ben Stokes in England’s chase at Lord’s, and New Zealand lost a series of catches at Trent Bridge before Jonny Bairstow sealed a stunning victory on the final day, added to the sense that, under Brendon McCullum, England get all the breaks.
As Nicholls walked away in disbelief, England could deliver a crucial blow: the end of a 40-run stand for the fifth wicket that threatened to justify New Zealand’s decision to strike first. Leach’s fortuitous wicket left New Zealand 123 for five at tea.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, back after missing the second Test with Covid-19, won the coin toss and opted to strike first on flat ground, but England took the initiative .
New Zealand will kick each other out after every batsman except the struggling Latham got a good wicket at bat but failed to continue, although in the case of Nicholls he did not could not do much because luck shone on a dynamic England.
England are looking to win every game in a home series with at least three Tests for the first time since beating India 4-0 in 2011.