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Root century takes England past 300

Quick bowlers keep New Zealand interested till local lad scores sentimental hundred at Headingley

Root century takes England past 300 - Cricket News
Joe Root scored his maiden Test ton to propel England.
On a day when New Zealand's quick bowlers created enough chances to keep the wicketkeeper and the slip cordon busy, a cheerful hundred from Joe Root, his first in Tests, at his home ground in Headingley, ensured that England ended the second day on 337 for 7 after the first day's play was washed out. There was plenty to cheer for the home crowd, when Jonny Bairstow, another Yorkshireman, got in on the act, making 64 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 124.

Just when it looked as though it was all going England's way New Zealand came back into the game through the left-arm pace of Trent Boult. Root, Bairstow and Stuart Broad fell in the space of 13 balls and 3 runs as the second new ball worked like a charm.   

But Matt Prior, reprieved on 21, was 38 not out at the close, and Graeme Swann survived the hat-trick chance to reach 21 not out in an unbeaten partnership of 51. Root, in his sixth Test, became the first Yorkshire batsman to make his maiden Test hundred at Headingley.

Earlier, Alastair Cook won the toss with the sunny blue skies overhead providing seemingly ideal conditions for batting. But Tim Southee had Nick Compton caught head-high by Dean Brownlie for one. England then progressed through a second-wicket stand of 56 between Cook (34) and Jonathan Trott (28). But Trott was caught behind by Brendon McCullum off Neil Wagner. And in the next ball, Cook flat-footedly edged Doug Brace to Brownlie as 67 for two became 67 for three.

Occasional off-spinner Kane Williamson lived up to his reputation as a partnership breaker when he had Bell caught behind for 30 by McCullum, keeping wicket in place of BJ Watling. It was the end of a 79-run stand and at tea, England were 178 for four. Root then surpassed his highest Test score of 73, made on his debut against India at Nagpur in December, with three consecutive fours off Williamson.

Meanwhile Bairstow reached a 73-ball fifty and also raised a century stand with Root. When Root steered a four through the slips off Bracewell, he reached a 156-ball century, and the crowd cheered enthusiastically. However, New Zealand took the new ball as soon as it was available and pulled things back a touch.

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