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Root's 178 mutes Australia

By Rob Barnett at Lord's and Chris Devine

Joe Root belied his tender years with a century of cool composure to give England complete control of the second Investec Test.

The 22-year-old’s unbeaten 178, which included 18 fours and two sixes, was his second Test hundred, his first as an international opener and made him the youngest England batsman to post a ton in an Ashes match at Lord’s.

Beginning the day on 18, Root eschewed risk in the first two sessions and, soon after tea, reached three figures with his 12th four. The slender right-hander then accelerated with panache.

Root, who hit 104 from the middle order versus New Zealand in May’s Headingley Test, was accompanied throughout the morning session by Yorkshire team-mate Tim Bresnan, an unusual choice as nightwatchman yesterday given his ample batting ability.

Their partnership stood at 99 when James Pattinson had Bresnan caught on the pull at midwicket for 38 midway through the afternoon session.

First-innings centurion Ian Bell survived on three when Steven Smith claimed a low catch at gully but the on-field umpires referred it to TV colleague Tony Hill, who ruled that the ball had not carried.

Bell took advantage by easing to a fifty not long after Root joyfully celebrated his century. The latter landmark sparked a frenzy of controlled boundary-hitting as Australia were run ragged.

Bell fell for 74 in similar fashion to Bresnan, becoming occasional leg-spinner Smith’s fourth victim of the game to double his previous Test tally.

Root and another Yorkshireman, Jonny Bairstow who closed with 11 to his name, comfortably negotiated their way to stumps with the score on 333 for five, a monstrous 566 to the good - 148 more than the highest successful Test run-chase.

It is therefore a question of if and when England will declare, with Australia already facing a daunting task to avoid going 2-0 down, which would leave then needing to win the last three Tests to regain the Ashes.

Following two frantic days at Lord’s, making seven in the series, an overcast morning session brought unexpected calm.

The hosts picked up with their second innings teetering on 31 for three, albeit that represented an already-strong lead of 264.

Australia’s seamers were generally tidy but failed to use the cloud cover to their advantage. Root, who typically prospered in the arc from mid-off to midwicket, and Bresnan shared a half-century alliance before the former registered his first fifty since replacing Nick Compton at the top of the order ahead of this rubber.

The fourth-wicket duo continued their steady progress either side of lunch, after which the sun broke through and Root became the first man to 1,000 first-class runs this season, until Pattinson denied them a hundred partnership.

Ryan Harris, the tourists’ best bowler in England’s first innings, was the unlucky man when Bell was reprieved. Bell consolidated until tea, when Root had 97.

The youngster cut left-arm spinner Ashton Agar to the rope for his ton, prompting the floodgates to open as the next 17 overs yielded 103 runs all round the wicket with Agar taking much of the punishment.

With the lead over 500, Bell’s fun ended when he pulled Smith to midwicket, having contributed evenly to an alliance of 153 with 11 fours.

Root went to and beyond 150 as Michael Clarke chose still not to take the new ball that was available just before Root heralded three figures. Clarke persisted mainly with the spin of Agar and Smith, the latter conceding two pulled maximums in the penultimate over that saw another fifty partnership arrive.

After play it was announced that Kevin Pietersen has a left calf strain and will not take the field in the rest of the match. He will continue to be assessed ahead of the third Test at Old Trafford that starts on August 1.

Match Scorecard

Live ball-by-ball commentary

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Evening Session

Highlights of the evening session when Joe Root reached a first century as an England opener and went on to 178 not out

6:01pm - STUMPS - Eng 333/5; Root 178, Bairstow 11 - England end a day of utter dominance with a mammoth lead of 566. Root could yet press on to a double-hundred tomorrow morning, while a declaration may not be far away.

5:55pm - Goodness me! Somehow the bowling gets worse. Smith attempts a googly, drops short and is pulled for six by Root. Two balls later, another delivery is smeared over the ropes at deep midwicket. It's carnage!

5:53pm - Root, who now has 163, and Bairstow continue to help themselves against some lacklustre slow bowling. Australia are being pummelled.

5:43pm - A declaration this evening appears unlikely given most of the England side can be seen wearing tracksuits, rather than whites, on the balcony. With so much time left in this game, there is really no need to rush. Australia are lacking intensity in the field, which is hardly surprising given their position.

5:30pm - 150!! Root (311b 18x4 0x6) - A leg-side single off Smith moves Root to 150. He'll remember this day for the rest of his life. Another young Yorkshireman, Jonny Bairstow, is the new batsman. He feasts on a juicy full bunger from Smith with a lofted four over midwicket.

5:22pm - WICKET! Bell c Rogers b Smith 74; Eng 282/5 - Smith gets Bell for the second time in the match. The batsman's eyes lit up when he was presented with a dreadful long-hop, but Bell's fierce pull merely picked out Chris Rogers at midwicket.

5:20pm - It looks to be a case of when England want to declare now. We've had 110 runs in 20 overs since tea and the partnership between Root and Bell has moved swiftly past 150.

5:13pm - As if to emphasise England's level of control, Bell reverse-sweeps Agar to the third man fence, putting his side 500 ahead.

5:11pm - Clarke continues to rotate his bowlers, but to no avail. The lead stands at 496 and England would not be more comfortable if they were gently lowered into a room full of marshmallow.

4:54pm - Siddle replaces Smith, but there's still no sign of the second new ball. Agar is bowling some pretty awful stuff now. A rank full-toss is paddled fine by Root, who then drives elegantly through cover for a second four in succession.

4:46pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP AND FIFTY for Bell (82b 7x4 0x6) - Milestones ahoy! Bell collects two more to bring up the hundred stand and nudges the next ball from Smith through leg for his 50th run.

4:43pm - This is all rather straightforward for England. Spin is being utilised from both ends and a series of loose deliveries are being punished by England’s well-set fifth-wicket pair. Bell picks up two fours from Agar - down the ground and behind square on the leg side - before a single takes him to 46.

4:30pm - Agar errs down leg and Root gets something on it for another four that takes England to 200. The next ball spins sharply out of the leg-side rough and goes to Michael Clarke at slip. In the next over Bell strikes Pattinson for two boundaries to up the ante.

4:25pm - James Pattinson replaces Watson, still without the new ball, and Bell punishes a leg-stump delivery with a flicked four to fine-leg.

4:16pm - Bell tucks Watson to deep square-leg to raise a half-century alliance. Next delivery Root attempts to pull but the ball goes for four byes down leg past diving wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. By the way, the second new ball is available but has not been taken.

4:13pm - CENTURY! Root (247b, 12x4, 0x6) - Root flicks Agar to leg for two, moving him to 99, and immediately cuts for four to reach three figures. Well done, lad!

4:07pm - Root defends the last two balls of Ashton Agar’s over to remain on 97. Ian Bell then plays out a maiden from Watson.

4pm - Play resumes with Shane Watson bowling to Joe Root, who needs three for his first hundred at the top of England’s order. Steven Smith fields well in the gully to deny him a four during a maiden.

Afternoon Session

Highlights of the afternoon session when England continued to dominate Australia as Joe Root moved towards three figures

3:40pm - TEA - Eng 171/4; Root 97, Bell 16 - Root cuts Smith in front for square for four to reach 96 and repeats the shot next ball but picks out the cover fielder. At the interval England lead by 404.

3:34pm - Root punches Siddle, who is bowling in tandem with Ashton Agar, down the ground for his 10th four to move to 90.

3:26pm - In his next over, Siddle gets one to rear at Bell off a length. That’s perhaps the first sign of uneven bounce, something that will encourage England as they lead by 389.

3:20pm - Bell rubs salt into Australia’s wound but cutting and leg-glancing consecutive fours off Siddle, the first moving England to 150.

3:06pm - Bell is properly reprieved this time when, still on three, he steers Harris to Steven Smith at gully. The fielder claims a very low catch but the on-field umpires refer to their TV colleague Tony Hill, who decides it is not-out.

3pm - Shortly after Root tucks Watson to the midwicket boundary, the umpires check the shape of the ball, which is 68 overs old, and see fit to change it for a similar-condition one.

2:53pm - Bell survives on three when he chips Ryan Harris to leg and the ball falls to ground between the short midwicket fielder and the one at mid-on, agonisingly so for Australia.

2:47pm - Bell opens his account with a single off Shane Watson to cover-point.

2:42pm - England’s progress continues to be sedate, with the series’ in-form batsman Ian Bell having joined Root at the crease.

2:25pm - WICKET! Bresnan c Rogers b Pattinson 38; Eng 129/4 - The bowling all-rounder, who had shown excellent application as nightwatchman, is caught on the pull at midwicket during a wicket-maiden. The breakthrough ends a 99-run stand with Root.

2:20pm - Pattinson and Siddle are making runs scarce, but the Yorkshire duo still look solid.

2:06pm - Root beautifully tucks Siddle for four to midwicket, taking him to 69, and then one to leg to be the first player to reach 1,000 first-class runs this summer.

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash praises Ian Bell, who on Thursday hit his third hundred in three Ashes Tests

1:55pm - Joe Root, currently 65 not out, is the leading first-class run-scorer this season and needs five more to reach 1,000.

1:45pm - As the sun breaks through the clouds for the first time today, Peter Siddle makes it an all-seam combination.

1:41pm - James Pattinson gets the day’s second session under way from the Nursery End.

Morning Session

Highlights of the morning session at Lord's where Joe Root, who hit his first fifty as England opener, and nightwatchman Tim Bresnan batted throughout to extend the hosts' advantage

1pm - LUNCH - Eng 114/3; Root 63; Bresnan 32 - A session that has emphatically belonged to England ends. The hosts lead by 347 and will seek to increase that advantage this afternoon.

12:50pm - Steven Smith, whose leg-spin accounted for three late wickets on day one, is introduced with Agar switching ends as lunch approaches.

12:44pm - Bresnan cuts Agar for four, moving England into three figures. Michael Clarke is rotating his seamers from the other end.

12:38pm - Agar and Pattinson keep it tight but Root and Bresnan are content to accumulate steadily with so much time left in the match.

 

12:25pm - FIFTY! Root (122b 6x4 0x6) - The youngster drives Pattinson off the back foot for two to register his first half-century as an England opener. Next ball he plays a similar shot for four. Root is looking extremely comfortable.

12:19pm - Root unfurls another drive for four, this time through mid-on off Siddle, to move to 48.

12:12pm - In the next over Root straight-drives Siddle for his fifth four. Bresnan then thick-edges Agar for three to bring up a fifty partnership.

12:06pm - Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar is introduced from the Nursery End. Root drives him through the covers and Usman Khawaja chases before diving to limit the opener to three.

11:59am - Bresnan plays out a Watson maiden before Root cover-drives Siddle off the back foot for three.

11:52am - Bresnan takes Harris for a single to long-leg, extending England’s lead to 300. Surely the game is beyond Australia?

11:41am - After Shane Watson takes over from Pattinson, Bresnan throws his bat at a wide half-volley and picks up four. Root then opens the face to guide Watson for four through point.

11:36am - Ryan Harris, who took a first-innings five-for, replaces Siddle and beats Bresnan’s bat during a maiden.

11:25am - Bresnan edges Siddle just short of third slip where Phil Hughes cannot prevent four. Next ball the all-rounder flicks four through midwicket, taking England to 50.

11:21am - Following’s Siddle’s maiden to Root, Bresnan gets off the mark with an ungainly pull for one off Pattinson. Root then elegantly cover-drives for four.

11:15am - Siddle and Pattinson keep it tight, each sending down overs costing one. Given the cloud cover, there is only a little seam movement if any.

11:06am - James Pattinson then delivers a maiden to nightwatchman Tim Bresnan, a capable batsman who will hope to build a decent innings.

11:01am - Peter Siddle opens the bowling from the Pavilion End and Joe Root immediately clips him through midwicket for four, dissecting two fielders.

Pre-Play News

10:57am - The umpires and Australia players make their way onto the ground, soon followed by Root and Bairstow. The actions is minutes away.

10:45am - While waiting for play to start, why not read Graeme Swann’s reflections on his five-for, including the bizarre lbw of Chris Rogers who was struck in the midriff by a full-toss?

10:35am - Film star Russell Crowe was at Lord’s yesterday and had his picture taken with Jonny Bairstow in the pavilion’s long room after play ended.

 

10:17am - Unlike the first two days and the heatwave that extended well before that, it is overcast at Lord’s where the squads are warming up on the outfield. The cloud cover will likely assist the seamers, such as Australia’s Peter Siddle who has figures of 5-3-4-3.

10:05am - Morning everyone. England dominated day two of the second Investec Test at Lord’s, closing it 264 ahead with seven wickets left. Graeme Swann’s 5-44 was pivotal in skittling Australia for 128. Joe Root will resume with 18 of 31 for three while nightwatchman Tim Bresnan is yet to score.

 

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