Jack Leach happy to accept 'unbelievable' change in luck on day one of third Test

There was only one thing anyone wanted to talk about after the first day of the third Test between England and New Zealand, and for once it was a bit of good luck for Jack Leach.

Jack Leach said he welcomed his change of luck for England as he benefitted from a remarkable stroke of fortune in the third Test against New Zealand.

Leach suffered a concussion on day one of the first Test in the series when chasing a ball in the outfield, so you could forgive him for thinking he was just cursed to suffer in an England shirt.

However, his luck changed dramatically at Headingly when he dismissed Henry Nicholls, who was caught after the ball was redirected by Daryl Mitchell's bat at the non-striker's end.

Alex Lees was able to take a comfortable catch at mid-off, with the ball looping directly to him.

It was the highlight of an absorbing day of cricket, with New Zealand battling their way to 225 for five at stumps.

"It was unbelievable, I've never seen anything like it," Leach said of the Nicholls dismissal.

"I didn't even know if that was allowed, but I'll take any wicket I can get. You get enough that don't go your way. It was very unlucky for Nicholls but very lucky for me.

"It's a silly game isn't it? That's what it made me think, it's a stupid game we play. I like it because it says two wickets up on the board but I don't like the dismissal. It's not something I'm going to rewatch too many times."

New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi took the setback on the chin, but suggested Nicholls may not have been feeling quite so magnanimous.

"I like those sort of things that happen, you can always say you were there at the time and if you take those factors out of the game it could make things pretty boring," he said.

"Unfortunately for Henry, it's his demise. We gave him a bit of space afterwards…you want to let people go through their own thoughts."

The game was neatly poised at stumps, with England taking three wickets in the morning session after being asked to bowl first in serene conditions only for an unbroken stand of 102 between the in-form Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell to rebalance the scales.

It was the third big partnership of the series between the two, who have previously put on 236 at Trent Bridge and 195 at Lord's, but they will need no reminding that both of those ended up in losing causes.

England's seamers pulled a solid shift in demanding conditions, with Stuart Broad taking out opener Tom Latham and captain Kane Williamson before lunch, debutant Jamie Overton convincing Devon Conway to play on for his first international wicket and Matthew Potts twice seeing strong lbw shouts go unrewarded.

"It was a great feeling (to take a Test wicket), you want to get it out of the way quite early," Overton told Sky Sports.

"It was nice to get it, but I would have liked a few more. We've have had a good day, though, after being stuck in the field and be going at 2.5 (runs per over) all day.

"Leachy has had a phenomenal effort from the bottom end, to bowl 30 overs for 70-odd, that is a great effort that allowed the seamers to rotate on a hot day."

Leach added: "With the weather and that wicket, it was good toil out there but I tried to be as aggressive as I could. I knew they were going to come at me a bit so it was just finding that balance."

READ MORE: Stuart Broad stars for England but error of judgement proves costly on day one

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