England look to clinch Test series
LEEDS, England (AP):
It was only a week ago that the England cricket team was in a state of turmoil, with no coach, no real identity, and seemingly no chance of winning the Ashes this summer.
All that changed in five days of absorbing, aggressive Test cricket that lifted the gloom hanging over the national XI and brought the English public back on side. Even the incessant chat about Kevin Pietersen has reduced - and that's no mean feat.
England's 124-run win over New Zealand, completed Monday towards the end of a dramatic fifth day at Lord's, was followed a day later by confirmation that Trevor Bayliss - a highly respected Australian - had been hired as head coach.
It means momentum is behind the England squad heading into the second and final match of the series, starting today in Leeds.
The motivation for England's players will be more than just about clinching the series. They will also be wanting to make an impression on Bayliss ahead of the upcoming five-Test Ashes series against Australia, which marks the start of his tenure.
With captain Alastair Cook back in the runs, a new star in the making in allrounder Ben Stokes, the impressive integration of newcomer Mark Wood as a third seamer, and an attacking mentality that is coursing through the team, England are in a confident mood.
New Zealand have a couple of fresh injury problems but know they did little wrong at Lord's, making a major contribution to one of the most exhilarating Test matches of recent years. The tourists took 20 wickets and scored almost 750 runs yet still lost by more than 100 runs.