Cricket world condemns ugly scenes in England Test 'disgrace'

·5-min read
Seen here, an ugly crowd brawl on day four of the third Test between England and New Zealand.
An ugly crowd brawl broke out on day four of the third Test between England and New Zealand at Headingley. Pic: Getty/Twitter

England's third and final Test match against New Zealand has been overshadowed by ugly crowd scenes on day four of the match at Headingley, in Leeds.

Spinner Jack Leach took the first 10-wicket haul of his Test career on Sunday, before batter's Ollie Pope (81 not out) and Joe Root (55 not out) put England in a commanding position to wrap up a series clean-sweep against the Black Caps.

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The hosts made it to stumps on day four on 2-183, needing 113 more runs for a victory that would see them clinch the series against the reigning world Test champions, 3-0.

However, England's fine display with bat and ball was marred by a disgraceful incident in the stands, where a wild brawl erupted between a number of supporters.

Amateur footage captured some of the carnage unfold as a number of men threw could be seen pushing and shoving one another, with a number of wild punches thrown.

Bystanders could be see trying to avoid the mayhem, before security officials stepped in to break up the wild brawl.

The disturbing scenes left viewers disgusted on social media.

Out in the middle, the day largely belonged to Leach and a historic 10-wicket match haul that had been a long time in the making.

Leach's 25 matches as an international cricketer have been blighted by illness - the left-arm spinner suffers from Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition - injury and inconsistent selection.

And it somehow seemed typical of Leach's luck that when he was selected for his first Test on home soil in three years at the start of the New Zealand series, he suffered a concussion while fielding on the opening morning at Lord's.

Matt Parkinson was drafted in as emergency cover for that match but, significantly, Leach retained the confidence and faith of captain Ben Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum.

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They picked him again for the second Test at Nottingham where Leach played his part in a five-wicket win that gave England an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match series over the Test world champions.

And by supporting Leach with attacking field settings that make it clear his main job is to take wickets rather than just contain the opposition, they have given the 31-year-old the chance to shine.

Seen here, England spinner Jack Leach celebrates taking New Zealand bowler Tim Southee's wicket.
England spinner Jack Leach celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Tim Southee in the third Test at Headingley. Pic: Getty

The fruits of that new approach have been evident during the series finale in Leeds where Leach took 5-100 in the first innings of the third Test only to top that with 5-66 on Sunday for a match haul of 10-166.

Those wickets helped prepare the ground for a run chase, with Pope and Root putting the hosts on the verge of a superb series sweep.

"I don't know if I thought something like this was possible or not before, probably not," Leach told reporters.

"I think the biggest thing is having belief in myself and that's what Ben and Baz (McCullum) have really helped me with. It looks like that's starting to pay off.

"I am really enjoying working with Stokesy. I say 'what about putting mid-on back?' and he just says no.

"It's really attacking and I am enjoying bowling like that as well. I've never experienced anything like the atmosphere in that dressing room, this positive way of doing things."

Headingley has loomed large in Leach's 25-Test career, with his most famous moment as an international cricketer coming with his staunch one not out in support of century-maker Stokes during an astonishing one-wicket win over Australia at the same ground in an Ashes clash three years ago.

"Does this feel better than 2019?" Leach said. "At the moment, no. We just need to get the win and then it will be very special," he added. "It probably hasn't sunk in but it feels great."

with agencies

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