Root century counters Boult streak

England

Batsman Joe Root's maiden Test century overshadowed seamer Trent Boult's three wickets with the second new ball, as England climbed to 337 for seven on day two of the series decider against New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds on Saturday.

Batsman Joe Root's maiden Test century overshadowed seamer Trent Boult's three wickets with the second new ball, as England climbed to 337 for seven on day two of the series decider against New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds on Saturday.

Root, earning his sixth cap at his home ground, underlined his growing reputation as the golden boy of English cricket by scoring a graceful and mature 104 that delighted the locals in Leeds.
Without the 22-year-old's 167-ball innings, England would have struggled to get close to their score of 337 for seven as the Black Caps fought hard to avenge their 170-run defeat in the first Investec Test. Having stumbled to 67 for three, Root and fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow, who scored 64, dragged England into the ascendancy with a stand of 124 for the fifth wicket.
Boult removed both men during a superb spell of three wickets in 13 deliveries with the second new ball, but just as the tourists threatened to steal the momentum, a late counter-attack from Matt Prior (38no) lifted the batting side again.
After England won the toss, the morning session was an uneven affair.
Nick Compton made just one before playing Tim Southee away from his body and edging to Dean Brownlie at third slip.
It was a third consecutive failure in the series and, with Root and Bairstow making runs later in the day, his Ashes place will now be under scrutiny.
A solid but unspectacular stand of 56 between Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott followed, with the pair keen to settle in for a long stay.
Instead, they fell to consecutive deliveries just before lunch – Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell both profiting from loose strokes outside off.
Root emerged to a huge cheer and duly negotiated the last five balls of the session.
New Zealand started the afternoon positively, aided by a swinging ball, but Root ended a period of stagnation by twice cutting Southee to the boundary.
While Root was in control, Ian Bell was reprieved twice on 12.
First he was given lbw to the impressive Southee, a decision that was overturned after Bell called for DRS.
Moments later New Zealand failed to appeal for caught behind off Boult, even though replays suggested Bell had offered a faint edge.
Root's progress was comparatively serene, keeping busy with ones and twos and running well.
Bell had made an unconvincing 30 before he was defeated by Kane Williamson's occasional spin.
Having miscued a shot over the top, Bell was trapped on the back foot and got a thin edge to Brendon McCullum, who held on to leave the hosts 146 for four.
The arrival of Bairstow gave the Yorkshire public a chance to see both local boys at the crease, and it was not long before they rose to acclaim Root's half-century which came from 90 balls.
Bairstow was next to earn the applause when he got off the mark with a four through cover, and by tea the score had improved to 178.
Bairstow and Root made a statement of intent in the fifth over after the restart, taking Williamson for 19 runs.
The first seven went to Bairstow before Root stepped into the limelight with three consecutive fours.
The first came from a low full toss, the second from a compact sweep, and the third, delightfully, saw him reverse-sweep the spinner to a vacant third man.
By the time he was finished the 50-run partnership was up and Root had a new Test best, passing the 73 he made on debut in Nagpur.
Bairstow was visibly growing in confidence too, moving past 30 with a commanding pull off Wagner.
Root had a nervy moment when Wagner almost had him run out at the non-striker's end having got a finger to a fierce Bairstow drive.
Then, on 93, Bracewell thought they had him strangled down the leg side only to be turned down on the field and again on review.
Bairstow's seventh boundary eased the tension, taking him to 50 and the partnership to 100 in 138 balls.
But the real celebrations followed in the 78th over when Root guided Bracewell to the ropes at third man for his century.
The Western Terrace exploded in delight and Root punched the air with joy.
But the momentum shifted as soon as the new ball arrived. Boult took a wicket in each of his first three overs with it, including the prize scalp of Root, out to Boult's very first attempt.
Root, Bairstow and Stuart Broad all departed caught behind within 13 balls as the paceman grabbed the initiative.
New Zealand sensed blood but Prior and Graeme Swann, with 21 not out, had other ideas.
Prior's unbeaten 38 took just 44 balls and included seven boundaries, a healthy shot in the arm heading into day three.

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