Emotional Root Century Dominates Second Day


England 337-7 (Root 104, Boult 3-48) v
New Zealand
Second Test, Headingley, day two
Report by Daniel Grummitt

It was another entertaining day of Test cricket as the second Test at Headingley got underway following the first day washout. New Zealand seized the initiative initially with three wickets in the first session before Joe Root mesmerised the home crowd with his maiden Test century.

He was then part of a triple-strike with the second new ball from Trent Boult which threatened to undo his good work, but Matt Prior and Graeme Swann made the most of a wearying New Zealand attack to cap a relatively pleasing day for England.

Nick Compton continued his poor series after England captain Alastair Cook had won the toss and elected to bat. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum admitted that he would have bowled in any case - a decision that would have been vindicated when Tim Southee tempted Compton into a drive in his second over.

Conditions at Headingley first up were conducive to the all-seam attack that the tourists were forced to field thanks to fitness concerns surrounding spinners Bruce Martin and Daniel Vettori.

Cook and Jonathan Trott, though, displayed admirable technique and batted through the majority of the morning session. Both were extracted, however, on the brink of lunch. Trott was first to go when tempted into a loose drive by Neil Wagner, with Cook out the very next ball, caught at third slip by Dean Brownlie.

Enter Joe Root. The 22 year-old began the recovery alongside Ian Bell, but would really go on to take the game to New Zealand when partnered by Yorkshire team-mate and good friend Jonny Bairstow. Bell’s innings was a skittish affair. He never looked comfortable during his 73-ball stay, which was ended at 30 when he edged the off-spin of Kane Williamson through to McCullum behind the stumps.

Root had no such problems and, along with Bairstow, counter-attacked. With any early moisture in the pitch now evaporated, and New Zealand’s attack looking a little one-dimensional, the pair added 124 for the fifth-wicket in less than 29 overs.

Williamson was unable to play the holding role that Bruce Martin had at Lord’s, conceding 49 runs from nine overs, meaning that the seamers had to shoulder much of the burden.

Root became the first Yorkshireman to hit his maiden Test century on his home ground and embraced Bairstow upon reaching the landmark with the kind of refreshing joy that is rarely seen in top-flight cricket. It represented a rare good news story for cricket in a week that has been dominated by the dark headlines from India.

Unfortunately, much to the disappointment of the vociferous Headingley crowd, he was unable to last much longer and was dismissed to the very first ball bowled with the second new ball. There was double disappointment when Bairstow failed to become the second Yorkshireman to hit a maiden Test ton on his home ground.

He edged another catch through to McCullum, with Stuart Broad’s miserable form with the bat - brief cameo at Lord’s notwithstanding - continuing when he gave McCullum his fifth catch of the innings second ball.

At that point, New Zealand could have taken the advantage and wrapped up the England innings quickly. However, they suddenly seemed to run out of energy and Prior and Swann took advantage. Their unbroken stand of 51 in 59 balls pushed England ahead in the game once more as they closed on 337 for seven heading into day three.

© Cricket World 2013

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