The first off three-match Test series between New Zealand and England started on Thursday afternoon at iconic Lord's stadium. After opting to bat first, Kane Williamson-side had a troublesome start to their first innings as the visitors lost six wickets in the first few hours of the game. Debutant Matty Potts picked three wickets, while veteran pacer James Anderson inflicted two wickets and Stuart Broad took one.
However, the hosts suffered a major blow as their spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the first Test following a head injury. When NZ batter Devon Conway edged the ball between gully and backward point, Leach gave a chase from the backward point and managed to pull it back inches inside the boundary rope. But he landed awkwardly on his head while making the effort.
As per concussion guidelines, Leach was withdrawn from the Test, and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is set to make his Test debut as he has been named replacement in the first Test. A statement from the ECB read: "Jack Leach has symptoms of concussion following his head injury whilst fielding. As per concussion guidelines, he has been withdrawn from this Test."
Notably, this was Leach's first Test at home since the 2019 Ashes and his participation in the game came to a premature end. Speaking of the game, hosts are all over New Zealand in the ongoing first Test of the 3-match series. England's experienced pace attack soon wreaked havoc in New Zealand's batting line-up as James Anderson was the first to dismiss Will Young (1 off 2) in the third over of the first innings.
However, Jonny Bairstow, who was placed at slip, stole the show with his reflexes as he reacted in seconds, got down, and completed an excellent low catch. Another star of the day was debutant Matty Potts, who picked the wickets of Kane Williamson (2 off 22), Daryl Mitchell (13 off 35) and wicket-keeper batter Tom Blundell (14 off 39).