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Leeds Test: Kane Williamson confirms return to New Zealand XI vs England after ‘frustrating’ Covid ordeal


New Zealand captain Kane Williamson confirmed his availability for the 3rd Test of the ongoing 3-match series against England, starting June 23 at Leeds in Headingley. Williamson had to miss the 2nd Test after contracting Covid-19 on the eve of the Test as New Zealand conceded an unbeatable 2-0 lead to the hosts.

Kane Williamson confirmed that both Neil Wagner and Ajaz Patel are part of the 13-man squad and will be in consideration for the 3rd Test.

Williamson, speaking to the press on the eve of the 3rd Test, shed light on his time away from the team as he was in isolation in New Zealand’s team hotel during the fast-paced 2nd Test in which England gunned down 299 on the final day to win the Trent Bridge Test in Nottingham. Williamson said it was frustrating to miss the action but added that he watched nearly even ball of the Test.

Tom Latham captained New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson even as Jonny Bairstow’s stunning hundred and a quickfire knock from Ben Stokes helpe England pull off a stunning chase.

“It was obviously pretty frustrating to miss the last Test through Covid but it’s great to be back in the fold,” Williamson said.

Williamson said both England and New Zealand gave it their all in the 2nd Test and that it’s imperative to applaud players like Bairstow when they come up with game-changing knocks.

“It was a Test where both teams put their front foot forward, played some shots, it was fast-scoring and in the balance like the first Test,” he said. “I don’t shout at the TV. I watch and observe, it’s always interesting seeing it from a different perspective, although it wasn’t my preferable place to be.

“It was interesting to watch and connect from the other side a little bit. There was a lot of effort that went into the match. It was an amazing knock from Jonny, and that’s cricket. You do have to applaud the quality England have come in with.”

‘THEIR STYLE IS THEIRS’

England have gone all out with their aggressive approach under new captain Stokes and new head coach Brendon McCullum and the results have come their way early as they have managed to beat the world Test champions comfortably in the 3-Test series.

Kane Williamson said England’s Test match approach seems to have evolved but maintained that New Zealand will continue to follow their own processes in Test cricket and strive to get better with every passing game.

“Their style is theirs. It appears to have evolved a little bit. For us it’s focusing on our cricket and finding different areas of the game to target and be aware they are choosing to play a different brand that seems to suit them. The focus is us and wanting to be better,” he added.

Earlier in the day, England confirmed that Ben Stokes overcame his illness and would lead in the 3rd Test in Leeds. James Anderson misses out due to injury and Jamie Overton is all set to make his England Test debut.



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