Sunday, August 7, 2022

‘The ball was meant to hit and I hit it in the wrong place’ – Jamie Overton drops the ton that got away

After falling well short of a Test century on debut, then returning with a fiery spell in the final session, Jamie Overton was refreshingly philosophical at the end of the third day of the third Test at Headingley.

Both efforts contributed for England, ensuring a first innings total of 360 to lead 31, before cutting New Zealand to 168 for five. The tourists scored 137 runs till the stumps with Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell in form at the crease.

After an opening spell of five overs for 17, Overton came out after tea and promptly took the wicket of Tom Latham, who had returned to form before reaching 76 from round the wicket before making a wrong decision outside off-stump. Overton then struck Devon Conway on the head with the very next ball, setting the tone for a lucrative four-wicket haul for England.

However, when it came to Overton’s work on Saturday, the pain of falling for 97 earlier in the day was the main point of conversation. He was terrified after he shoved a wide delivery from Trent Boult, which had landed in Mitchell’s hands at first slip. However, by the stumps, he had made his peace with only three runs, which he did not get.

He said, ‘Obviously I was very disappointed to get out for 97. “But Johnny and I put us in a great position [a partnership of 241 – a new record for the seventh wicket], And Brody (42) coming into that innings and giving us the lead has given us a great place to go in the second innings. Obviously it was disappointing but I think I have contributed more than enough for the team.”

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Clearly, Overton didn’t have the best of night’s sleep on Friday, coming off an unbeaten 89, and this was reflected in a quiet start the next morning, scoring just eight runs in the 40 minutes before his dismissal.

“I was doing a lot of toss and turns,” he admitted. “I’m always going to be a little nervous but I felt like I was in a great place this morning and just didn’t come over the line. The ball was meant to be hit and I hit it in the wrong place.”

Bairstow, who was eventually dismissed for 162, for a portion of his slow walk-off with Overton, placing his hand around him and offering some consoling words: “He just said, it Soak everyone, you played a wonderful innings.”

Overton was good with those words come evening. England were somewhat lacking mid-season, allowing New Zealand a strong 125 position for one at tea and a lead of 94. Helped by the crowd, he reacted more readily and attempted to take four for 43. He got out before the rain in 18.5 overs.

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“We chatted over tea that potentially the afternoon session was not going to be as good for us,” Overton said. “We obviously didn’t go for loads of runs but we didn’t feel like we bowled and fielded the way we wanted, so coming out after tea was just a matter of its own accord. Trying to enjoy, put the New Zealanders under pressure, and that’s what we did. The crowd obviously got a little involved and we tried to lift them up because that always helps us too.”

There is still work to be done, especially considering how Mitchell and Blundell have fared – in this match alone, let alone the series with 109 and 55 in the first innings respectively. Overton, however, feels that England are ahead.

“I think last season put us in the box seat. We want to be back there in the end but couldn’t get out there with the cover needing time to get them out.

“But yes, we are in a good position tomorrow and hopefully we can get two early wickets, two important wickets. But we think we are in a good place. And if we can get those two early So we’re in a great place to win the game.”

ESPNcricinfo. Vithushan Ehanthraja is a Sportswriter for

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