In the second of four ODIs at the Ageas Bowl, England faced off against New Zealand. While the home team continued to experiment in preparation for the upcoming World Cup, the visiting side opted to provide Trent Boult with some game time as they approached the marquee event, scheduled for the following month.
The fast bowler, who hadn’t participated in an ODI for a year after relinquishing his Black Caps central contract, served as a potent reminder of what his team had been missing. Boult displayed his trademark new ball prowess, reducing the opposition to a precarious 10/3 after just five overs.
The 34-year-old, coincidentally marking his 100th ODI appearance, ignited the match with a blazing first over, yielding only one run. He then elevated his performance in the second over. Bowling from around the wicket, Boult outfoxed Jonny Bairstow with an inswinger, inducing a thick leading edge that soared toward extra cover.
Initially, it seemed Bairstow might escape unscathed, but Mitchell Santner leaped heroically, snatching the Kookaburra out of thin air in a catch that will be remembered for ages. The following batsman, Joe Root, faced just two deliveries before Boult once again generated inward movement to trap him plumb in front of the stumps.
Even after the double-wicket maiden, Boult showcased his prowess by dismissing the host’s Test captain, Ben Stokes, who clipped one to mid-off for the simplest of catches. His bowling figures stood at an astonishing 3/1.
Twitter users were quick to shower praise on the seasoned campaigner, suggesting that his performance was a glimpse of what to expect in the World Cup, given Boult’s exceptional showings in New Zealand’s journey to the finals in the two previous editions of the tournament.