Jack Leach picked up two wickets. (Image Credits: Getty)
England left-arm spinner Jack Leach opened up on Henry Nicholls’ bizarre dismissal, which came off his bowling on Day 1 of the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley on June 23. The veteran admitted that he couldn’t quite digest that wicket, but deserved it for bowling well against Nicholls leading up to that.
Nicholls perished in what proved to be one of the most unlucky ways of getting dismissed in Test cricket. The southpaw’s straight drive off the bowler hit Daryl Mitchell’s bat at the non-striker’s end and deflected straight to mid-off. It gave the hosts their fifth wicket of the day after losing the toss.
Speaking after the day’s play, Leach said he was clueless about how to react in that situation and felt he didn’t deserve the wicket. However, the Somerset spinner also reflected that he kept things tight before Nicholls’ scalp.
The 31-year old said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo:
“I didn’t even know if that was allowed. I don’t actually like the dismissal but I felt like I bowled pretty well to Nicholls leading up to that… you just have to take it. It’s a silly game, isn’t it? That’s what it made me think: it’s a stupid game that we play. Never seen anything like it. It was very lucky for me, very unlucky for Nicholls.”
It’s worth noting that the veteran didn’t seem to understand what transpired; however, the teammates started celebrating. Nicholls, who perished for 19, survived for 98 balls and put on 40 with Daryl Mitchell before departing.
Leach picked up a wicket with his first ball of the innings, trapping opener Will Young in front. He ended day one with figures of 30-8-75-2.
“Getting a wicket early eases everything for you, too” – Jack Leach
Will Young was Jack Leach’s first victim. (Credits: Getty)
Leach also reflected that it was good to get an early wicket that made things easier and that he tried to be aggressive. The 31-year old also said it felt nice to get his 25th Test cap from James Anderson, adding:
“It’s nice to get into the game early as a spinner. Getting a wicket early eases everything for you, too. The weather and wicket – it was good toil out there. I tried to be as aggressive as I could. I knew they were going to come at me. I’m just happy to be out there playing. To reach 25 caps was a bit of a surprise. I thought I was on 24. It’s a nice little milestone. Makes you proud of what you achieved. I didn’t think I’d get one, so it’s special. Nice to get it from a legend and someone who helped me from my game.”
After Nicholls perished, the Kiwis fought back as Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell spearheaded it as they reached 225-5. The duo stitched up their third century-partnership in the series, adding an unbeaten 102, with Mitchell on 78.