Leach, for whom the Lord’s Test had been his first at home since the Ashes in 2019, had to be substituted out of the match after landing heavily on his head in the sixth over of the opening day, as he chased a Devon Conway drive to the backward-point boundary.
As Leach dived, successfully dragging the ball back from the edge of the rope, he suffered the injury as his body rotated over the rope. Though he was able to walk from the field of play back to the pavilion after several minutes of treatment, he was withdrawn from the match after a subsequent check-up from the ECB medical team.
Matt Parkinson, who claimed his maiden Test wicket with the final ball of New Zealand’s second innings, duly made his debut as the first concussion substitute in England’s Test history, and seemed likely to keep his place too, given that Leach had to serve a mandatory seven-day concussion protocol before being considered eligible for selection.
However, he has taken his place back in the side at the earliest opportunity, with Parkinson – who had also been named in an extended 14-man squad – returning to the bench.
Leach had been monitored by England’s medical staff since the incident, and was passed fit to play after undergoing a final assessment on Thursday. England’s management also confirmed that the captain, Ben Stokes, would be expecting to bowl in the second Test despite looking uncomfortable during a net session on Wednesday.
The team announcement, which once again comes more than 24 hours before the start of the match, means that there is once again no debut for Harry Brook, the young Yorkshire batter whose form in the County Championship had demanded his inclusion in the squad. England will instead keep faith with their existing middle-order options of Ollie Pope at No.3 and Jonny Bairstow at No.5. Craig Overton, the reserve seamer, also misses out.
England XI 1 Zak Crawley, 2 Alex Lees, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Ben Stokes (capt), 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Matthew Potts, 9 Jack Leach, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson