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Root 104 drives England

By Matthew Sherry at Headingley

Home favourite Joe Root gave the Headingley crowd plenty to cheer with a maiden Test century that enhanced his rapidly growing reputation.

Root is the country’s form batsman and once again exhibited his vast talent, helping England – who opted to bat – recover from losing early wickets on day two of the second Investec Test against New Zealand.

His 104, backed up by Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow’s 64 and Matt Prior’s unbeaten 38, led the hosts to 337 for seven after the opening act was washed out.

It seemed remarkable, as Root prospered where his senior team-mates failed in converting a start, to think he had not even featured in international cricket this time last year.

Unexpectedly thrown in at the deep end for the final Test against India during the winter, the 22-year-old has never looked back since marking that occasion with scores of 73 and 20 not out.

He headed to the crease today on the back of 111 runs in the first Test at Lord's last week, which took his season tally to 757 in six innings, and having seen England lose experienced run-getters Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott in quick succession.

It was Nick Compton who was first to perish, for one, when edging Tim Southee – buoyed by 11 wickets at the home of cricket – to third slip, where Dean Brownlie gave another illustration of his brilliance as a close-catcher.

Cook and Trott had initially responded well to that dismissal, the latter finding the boundary regularly early to swing the momentum and begin a 56-run stand that left many expecting another of their mammoth alliances.

That did not materialise as, uncharacteristically, they failed to kick on; Trott drove loosely outside off stump to feather Neil Wagner behind and Cook fell victim of the sure-handed Brownlie, Doug Bracewell the successful bowler.

However, that wicket only heralded the arrival of Root.

On the surface, he appears very English: upright, favouring the back foot and waiting for anything short.

Yet today’s innings, much like many in recent months, showed him as far from a one-trick pony.

Having initially thrived with early boundaries, he then prospered through calculated strike rotation akin to Mohammad Yousuf at his best.

As if he had not displayed enough of his repertoire, Root began to unfurl an array of inventive sweeps and dabs as he approached three figures with a calm which contrasted to his all screaming, all dancing celebration.

That he at no point appeared nervous in front of a raucous crowd made the outpouring of emotion even more special.

It was with Ian Bell, who enjoyed some fortune en route to 30 before edging Kane Williamson behind, that Root got himself in, yet his partnership with long-time friend Bairstow was particularly enjoyable.

If his partner’s innings was impressive for its variety, Bairstow’s was equally so for its power.

The pugnacious batsman is completely different to Root, a bottom-handed player who favours short-armed jabs and powerful, punchy drives.

That proved the perfect complement to Root’s accumulation, much like it did in partnerships of 231 and 135 for Yorkshire and England Lions respectively this season.

Today’s eventually ended on 124, when Root edged the first delivery off the new ball behind to give Trent Boult a deserved breakthrough, but that could not detract from a fine innings.

Indeed, his anger upon that dismissal will no doubt dissapate when he reflects on becoming the first White Rose player to hit a first Test ton at Headingley.

That was a feat Bairstow could not repeat as he fell in identical fashion off Boult, who then also had Broad caught behind – this time via an inside edge.

Prior and Graeme Swann responded with an unbroken fifty partnership, though, that completed a good day for England - one which many in attendance will not forget in a hurry.

Evening Session

Highlights of the evening session at Headingley can be viewed here.

7:06pm - STUMPS! England 337/7; Prior 38, Swann 21 - I imagine England will be disappointed to see the day end given how Swann and Prior have prospered over the last half-hour. The former finds another boundary through the off side in the penultimate over before his partner does likewise in the next, bringing up the fifty partnership. Doug Bracewell leaves the field appearing injured to compound his side's misery, which is brought to an end by the close of play!

6:50pm - This is more like it! Prior and Graeme Swann are suddenly finding the boundary with regularity as England end the day strongly.

6:35pm - DROPPED CHANCE! - Matt Prior has quickly moved on to 21 in typical fashion, yet gets a life as Doug Bracewell shells a difficult, one-handed chance at midwicket off Tim Southee. Here are the highlights from the afternoon session.

6:18pm - WICKET! Broad c McCullum b Boult 0; England 286/6 - This is a far cry from the cheery atmosphere when Root and Bairstow were flying. Boult is suddenly on a hat-trick as Stuart Broad inside-edges behind. 

6:07pm - WICKET! Bairstow c McCullum b Boult 64; England 279/6 - Bairstow will not repeat that feat, unfortunately; he has fallen in identical fashion to Root.

5:58pm - WICKET! Root c McCullum b Boult 104; England 270/5 - Oh, what a shame. The new ball immediately yields a wicket as Root, playing at one he should have left, feathers Trent Boult behind. The youngster is furious with himself but will perhaps not be disgruntled tonight when he reflects on becoming the first Yorkshire batsman to strike a maiden Test ton at Headingley.

5:46pm - CENTURY! Root (156b 9x4 0x6) - What a celebration; what a scene! Chants of "Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire" echo around the ground as Root steers - some might say edge, but I disagree - down to the third-man boundary to herald an absolutely brilliant maiden Test ton. An innings matched only by his celebrations. Wonderful.

5:30pm - FIFTY! Bairstow (73b 7x4 0x6) - This is remarkable. This young duo are doing their best to take this game away from New Zealand, Bairstow moving to 50 with a glorious straight drive that heralds the century partnership.

5:25pm - REVIEW! - Hearts-in-mouths time at Headingley. Bairstow hits powerfully down the ground off Neil Wagner, who gets a finger to the ball and almost runs out Root backing up. Having survived that, the number five also has to nervously wait for a review with McCullum convinced he had edged behind down leg. However, replays show the ball hit pad and uphold umpire Erasmus' decision.

5:11pm - Root and Bairstow continue to find life comfortable alongside one another. The Yorkshire team-mates have taken the run-rate well beyond three an over now, with the latter hitting some crisp boundaries. He is on 39 and his partner in the 90s.

4:49pm - Nothing quite like the excitement of the previous update, but these two continue to manipulate the field expertly.

4:38pm - They are on their feet in the Western Terrace, at least the few who have not had too many pints! Jonny Bairstow gives an illustration of his impressive strength with an effortless, wristy flick to the midwicket boundary and after his partner picks up a further three runs on the back of an overthrow, Root produces three successive boundaries; the first comes as he uses his feet to hit a full-toss through leg, the second via a perfect fine sweep and third with a reverse-sweep. Williamson's over goes for 19, during which the fifty partnership and Root's highest Test score come up.

4:22pm - Brendon McCullum recalls golden arm Kane Williamson for the first over after the interval and the off-spinner almost gets the prized wicket of Root - who is hit on the pad sweeping. However, umpire Marais Erasmus rightly delivers a not-out verdict with the ball hitting him outside the line of off stump.

Afternoon Session

3:55pm - TEA! England 178/4; Root 61, Bairstow 13 - The crowd are loving this! Jonny Bairstow joins Yorkshire team-mate Root in the middle and gets off the mark with a back-foot punch for four through point before clipping another boundary off his pads just prior to the break. The latter comes during a quite brilliant Boult over, with the left-arm seamer swinging the ball both ways. Root, meanwhile, continues to accumulate effortlessly via ones and twos; it's highly impressive to watch.

3:38pm - FIFTY! Root (90b 5x4 0x6) - Chants of "Rooooootttt" reverberate around Headingley and rightly so. The 22-year-old edges Bracewell through third man for four before clipping two through leg to herald an excellent half-century.

3:31pm - WICKET! c McCullum b Williamson 30; England 146/4 - England again lose a wicket out of nowhere as Bell, playing a back-foot defensive shot, edges a Williamson delivery that does not turn behind. In the previous over, he had clipped a Bracewell leg-stump half-volley for four, and appeared increasingly at ease.

3:23pm - There's the first moment in alarm for a while; having excellently drove Williamson for four in his previous over, Bell almost perishes as he just clears mid-on when trying to hit down the ground.

3:13pm - Root and Bell are going along nicely now, with spinner Kane Williamson being introduced. Those of you keen to watch highlights of the morning session can do so by clicking here.

3:03pm - For now, file Root's effort in his ever-growing collection of remarkably mature displays. The 22-year-old has looked at ease and oozed class, no more so than when late cutting Wagner for four, an effort Bell followed up by driving Bracewell full-toss for a straight boundary.

2:49pm - Oh, to be Ian Bell. The number four adds his second boundary, seemingly mis-timing Neil Wagner down the ground. His version of a mis-time sees the ball fly to the boundary at pace, incredibly. Time for a drink.

2:38pm - That is truly glorious. Southee over-pitches slightly and Root leans into an off drive that reaches the boundary; oh, how the Yorkies in the crowd enjoyed that one.

2:30pm - It seems Bell is living a charmed life at the moment. He has just inside edged Boult behind - it was, admittedly, only a feather - but nobody really appealed. The batsman will certainly be relieved.

2:22pm - REVIEW! - And that's why the review system is in place. Tim Southee raps Bell on the pad and looks delighted as umpire Marais Erasmus raises the finger. However, the batsman calls for a review, which shows the ball was heading over the stumps.

2:13pm - This is really cracking stuff from New Zealand's bowlers, who continue to pile on the pressure. Trent Boult beats Bell with a beauty, prompting a loud caught-behind appeal that is rightly turned down given the ball hit thigh pad rather than bat. Root then gets stuck into two rare poor deliveries, cutting powerfully for four on both occasions.

2pm - Both Bell and Joe Root are playing with caution here, although the former did find the fence with a well-timed leg glance.

1:44pm - We're back under way with Ian Bell getting off the mark via a two before Doug Bracewell sends down four byes.

Morning Session

1:01pm - LUNCH! England 67/3; Bell 0, Root 0 - Local boy Joe Root, the country's form batsman, gets an excellent ovation and sees out five deliveries from Bracewell to end a fascinating session.

12:56pm - WICKET! Cook c Brownlie b Bracewell; England 67/3 - Well, well, well. Just as England appear to be taking control, they lose two wickets in as many balls. Cook goes this time, edging to third slip with Brownlie again taking a fine catch; he really looks outstanding in there.

12:55pm - WICKET! Trott c McCullum b Wagner 28; England 67/2 - Where did that come from? Having crunched Wagner through cover earlier in the over, Trott feathers behind attempting to repeat the trick.

12:50pm - Cook has now picked up the baton from his partner and is beginning to look in great nick. He drives three off Wagner before powerfully hooking Bracewell to the boundary.

12:37pm - There's Trott's first false shot of the day. Bracewell gets one to nip away late from the number three, who edges just short of slip and sees the ball run away for four.

12:21pm - REVIEW! - Well, that was certainly an eventful over from Doug Bracewell. After being effortlessly pushed for back-to-back boundaries through cover by Cook, the seamer responds by rapping England's skipper on the pad. McCullum, this time, makes the wrong decision as Marais Erasmus' verdict is upheld with the ball missing off stump.

12:08pm - England are starting to put together a good response now as Trott whips another boundary through leg before Cook strikes an off-side four.

11:52am - Oooh, a little scare for England as Boult raps Cook on the pads and leads a loud appeal. Umpire Steve Davis turns it down and Brendon McCullum's decision not to review is vindicated when replays show the ball was only just clipping the stumps.

11:39am - New Zealand are once again starving England impressively as Cook, in particular, struggles to get the ball away. It's been a good contest this morning with Southee and Boult bowling impressively.

11:29am - Jonathan Trott, as is often his way these days, gets off to a flying start with successive fours off Southee. Having been beaten by a jaffa from the paceman, he plays with soft hands to guide one through third man before whipping off his legs in emphatic fashion.

11:18am - WICKET! Compton c Brownlie b Southee 1; England 11/1 - Southee is picking up where he left off at the home of cricket and looking dangerous. He gets a wicket for his efforts as Compton, pushing forward to one that nips away, edges to third slip, where Dean Brownlie gives another exhibition of impressive close-catching.

11:12am - Shot skipper! After Nick Compton gets off the mark with a single to leg, Cook punches Tim Southee for a straight boundary. Despite yesterday's downpours, the outfield looks quick.

11:04am - England get off to a positive start as Alastair Cook clips fine off his hip for four as Trent Boult sends down the opening over. The conditions really are perfect for England's openers.

Pre-Play News

10:50am - The action will get under way in just 10 minutes. Cook and Compton will really fancy making hay in these conditions; they say you look up rather than down at Headingley and there is barely a cloud in the sky.

10:36am - Unsurprisingly given the nature of their victory at Lord's in the opening encounter of two, England have named an unchanged side. 

Here are the teams:

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson.

New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult.

10:33am - ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS & BAT - Brendon McCullum has called incorrectly and Alastair Cook has no hesitation in choosing to make first use of what appear perfect conditions.

10:25am - The inclement weather also ensured there was no toss yesterday, meaning it will take place in five minutes.

10:15am - Hello and welcome to's live commentary of the second Investec Test between England and New Zealand. The opening day was washed out at Headingley, but I've been greeted by bright sunshine this morning and we're set for uninterrupted play.

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