Root's epic 226 gives England 101-run lead over Black Caps

Carrie Guzman
December 4, 2019

Williamson was on 37, while Taylor was 31 as New Zealand head into the final day still facing a five-run deficit after England were dismissed in their first innings for 476, with Joe Root breaking out of a prolonged slump with a majestic 226.

With England needing to win to square the series after being thoroughly outplayed in the first Test, Root and Ollie Pope batted patiently to get England ahead before they lifted the scoring rate and wickets fell.

England captain Root reached 226 on day four - his first overseas double century and his longest innings at 10 hours, 36 minutes - at Seddon Park before falling to Mitchell Santner as the tourists lost their last five wickets for 21 runs.

By the end of the fourth day, New Zealand are trailing by five runs with eight wickets left and looks as if they will end with a 1-0 win in the series.

It remains to be seen whether Root's double hundred will take some pressure off him as captain, this may depend on whether his tactical nous is good enough to take the remaining New Zealand wickets tomorrow.

At the other end, Pope was looking similarly assured, albeit he developed the unhappy knack of finding the fielders with a succession of classy drives. They were reduced to 24/2 in response to New Zealand's first innings score of 375.

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The pair came out with more positive intent in the afternoon session, running hard between the wickets and once Pope had brought up his half-century, focus switched to Root as the England skipper closed in on a double ton. Sam Curran trapped Jeet Raval for a two-ball duck to strike first blood. This is Joe Root's biggest innings in terms of ball play, while this is his second biggest innings in terms of runs. However, the pitch was not the goal and Roots celebration began with an apology to his young batting partner.

Root was beaten by a Tim Southee scuttler that just whistled past off-stump although the England captain dispatched the seamer for four with a shorter delivery that did not get up as expected. Pope participated by beating Wagner for four, but just when they started to ride a motorcycle, the collaboration was broken.

"I felt pretty good all the way through it".

Another wicket was not forthcoming though as Williamson and Taylor steadied New Zealand and gradually chipped away at the deficit.

If England are able to win from this position it would echo Australia's wonderful ambush against them in Adelaide in 2006/07, but stranger things have happened and it would do their confidence a world of good leading into the South Africa series.

View day five of the second test between New Zealand and England from 9 p.m., Monday on Sky Sports Cricket.

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