3rd Test: Root, Bairstow help England complete series clean sweep

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Joe Root remained unbeaten on 86 and Jonny Bairstow blasted a 44-ball 71 as England romped home to a seven-wicket victory against New Zealand on the fifth and final day of the third and final Test here to complete a series whitewash.

With this victory, England overtook New Zealand in the World Test Championships (WTC) standings, with a win percentage of 28.89. New Zealand now occupy the penultimate spot on the table, just above Bangladesh, with a win percentage of 25.93.

Root was batting on 55 overnight with Ollie Pope on 81 as England resumed their second innings at 183/2, chasing a target of 296 for victory.

Those expecting an early end to proceedings on the final day were left frustrated early on as rain prevailed at Headingley. With the rain falling to relent, the match officials decided to call an early lunch on day five, leaving the two sides waiting to force through a result.

Needing another 113 runs for a victory, there was an early setback for England as they lost the in-form Pope. The young batter was bowled on 82 by Tim Southee.

But Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root were in a hurry to wrap up the contest, with the former continuing his dominant streak in the series. While Root rotated the strike, Bairstow was in an aggressive mood, hitting boundaries for fun. He brought up his half-century in only 30 deliveries – England’s second-fastest fifty in men’s Tests — as they marched on towards the target.

Bairstow remained unbeaten on a 44-ball 71, while Root scored 86 not out as England reached 296/3 in 54.3 overs for a dominant seven-wicket victory.

Brief scores: New Zealand 329 (Daryl Mitchell 109; Jack Leach 5/100) & 326 (Tom Blundell 88 not out; Jack Leach 5/66) lost to England 360 (Jonny Bairstow 162; Trent Boult 4/104) & 296/3 (Joe Root 86 not out, Ollie Pope 82) by 7 wickets

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