A huge slice of luck for birthday boy Ben Stokes and a classy innings from Joe Root have moved England into a winning position on a gripping third day at the Lord’s Test.
Set 277 to win by New Zealand in Stokes’ first game as captain on Saturday, England appeared to be heading towards another tame defeat when the new skipper fell to an ugly hack which briefly left the scoreboard reading 5-76.
But Stokes’ dismissal for just one run was scrubbed from the records when replays showed Colin de Grandhomme overstepping, a no-ball that changed the shape of the game as England rallied to reach 5-216.
The towering Kiwi Kyle Jamieson did the damage for the visitors with excellent bowling that ended with him grabbing four of the England wickets to fall.
Stokes celebrated on his 31st birthday by clubbing his way to 54, including three sixes and five fours, riding his good fortune to drag England back into contention before predecessor Rook took charge.
Root occupied the crease with calm authority as he finished with an unbeaten 77 and the hosts will be favourites to get the remaining 61 they need as long as he stays in.
Stuart Broad had earlier led the bowling attack in a vital fightback which saw the Kiwis lose their last six wickets for 34, including a maiden scalp for debutant leg-spinner Matt Parkinson.
At one stage the tourists coughed up three wickets in as many balls, with two for Broad and the forlorn De Grandhomme run out for a golden duck.
New Zealand held all the cards at the start of play, 227 ahead with six wickets in the bank and hundreds in sight for Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell.
But they failed to capitalise on the pair’s 195-run stand and their 285 all out offered the hosts a fighting chance.
The stage was set for a top three with plenty of questions to answer to stand up and be counted, but one by one they wilted.
Alex Lees mustered 20 before offering no shot to Jamieson and watched on helplessly as the ball tailed into his off stump.
Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope faltered in familiar style. Crawley’s weakness in the channel saw him caught at gully for nine before Pope was comprehensively cleaned up by Trent Boult on 10.
Jonny Bairstow attempted to ease the pressure by going on the front foot, taking 14 off one Boult over but he dragged on with a reckless drive at Jamieson.
That brought past and present captain together.
Root’s measured approach offered a calming counterpoint to Stokes’ high-risk strategy, but more of the current captain’s gambles started to pay off as he muscled a handful of boundaries.
Patel came off worst of all, swiped twice more into the stands and conceding four byes when he did beat the bat.
But Stokes became Jamieson’s fourth victim, gloving an attempted uppercut to the keeper to leave Root in charge of the chase with another 118 still required.
Root’s ability to work singles nudged the target down into double figures and eased him to a polished 50 as Ben Foakes offered solid support.