Joe Root scores century as England rack up the runs on day three to eat into New Zealand’s lead in second Test | Cricket News

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Highlights of day three of the second Test between England and New Zealand from Trent Bridge

Highlights of day three of the second Test between England and New Zealand from Trent Bridge

Joe Root struck a magnificent, unbeaten 163 as England batted New Zealand into the dirt, reducing the visiting side’s lead to 80 by stumps on day three of the second LV= Insurance Test at Trent Bridge.

Root’s ton, his 27th in Test cricket and quickest, came up off 116 balls, while Ollie Pope (145) too went through to three figures, notching his highest score in Test cricket and first batting at No 3.

Alex Lees (67) also impressed, but the opener will be disappointed after not cashing in further on a flat deck following his maiden Test fifty, and Ben Stokes blasted 46 off 33 balls late on as England closed on 473-5 in their first innings.

Watch the best of Ollie Pope's second Test century in England's second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge

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Watch the best of Ollie Pope’s second Test century in England’s second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge

Watch the best of Ollie Pope’s second Test century in England’s second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge

Root and Pope’s superb 187-run partnership was no doubt the highlight of the day, with New Zealand’s wearied attack particularly put to the sword in an afternoon session that yielded 136 of those runs in only 28 overs.

Pope had been overshadowed somewhat in the morning, starved of the strike as he added only 33 to his overnight score from the 104 total runs made before lunch. Lees peppered the cover boundary with regularity to race though to his half century, before a change in angle – Matt Henry (1-128) from over the wicket – brought the edge through to Daryl Mitchell at first slip, who this time made no mistake after putting down two on Saturday.

Matt Henry strikes just after drinks after a loose shot from Alex Lees flies straight into the hands of Daryl Mitchell.

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Matt Henry strikes just after drinks after a loose shot from Alex Lees flies straight into the hands of Daryl Mitchell.

Matt Henry strikes just after drinks after a loose shot from Alex Lees flies straight into the hands of Daryl Mitchell.

Root, coming to the crease with 100 runs on the board for only the third time in his last 45 innings, got off the mark with a clipped two first ball and then fired the first of his 25 boundaries through the covers not long after – a sumptuous drive that was to be a feature of his fine innings.

Root served up one half-chance when on 27 in the last over before lunch, flashing an attempted cut off Trent Boult through the hands of Tim Southee at second slip who, despite his six-foot frame, could only parry it down to the third-man fence for four.

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Aggressive England up the ante in afternoon session

England then piled on the runs after the interval, the first of which came courtesy of overthrows and a reckless, unnecessary shy at the stumps by Michael Bracewell which beat the fielder backing up to run away for fours.

It earned Pope five runs, which he swiftly added to with a couple more boundaries off his own bat, before bringing up his second Test hundred with a drop and run into the covers for two – Root sprinting 40 yards to his partner to celebrate the milestone.

Watch how Joe Root reached his 27th and fastest Test century on day three at Trent Bridge

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Watch how Joe Root reached his 27th and fastest Test century on day three at Trent Bridge

Watch how Joe Root reached his 27th and fastest Test century on day three at Trent Bridge

Root, meanwhile, raced through to a 56-ball fifty in the following over as 33 runs were plundered from the first five overs of the session, which then became 58 from the first 10 as Root and Pope brought up their century stand.

The runs continued to come thick and fast, with Root somewhat sheepishly celebrating back-to-back hundreds – and a fourth in five Tests – with arguably his ugliest shot of the day, a wild hack outside off that took his inside edge and scooted clear of his stumps and down to the fine-leg fence.

Stokes comes out swinging in dazzling cameo

New Zealand claimed the second new ball just before tea and it brought them a couple of quick breakthroughs after the interval as Pope top-edged an attempted pull off Boult (3-89) down to fine leg – the Surrey batter perhaps distracted after a brief delay to change one of his pads – and Jonny Bairstow (8) was shown to have gloved the left-arm quick behind on review.

Stand-in New Zealand skipper Tom Latham calls for a review, hoping to have Jonny Bairstow caught behind off the glove and the move pays off with a scratch on UltraEdge showing the batter had connected.

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Stand-in New Zealand skipper Tom Latham calls for a review, hoping to have Jonny Bairstow caught behind off the glove and the move pays off with a scratch on UltraEdge showing the batter had connected.

Stand-in New Zealand skipper Tom Latham calls for a review, hoping to have Jonny Bairstow caught behind off the glove and the move pays off with a scratch on UltraEdge showing the batter had connected.

Stokes swiftly signalled his intent, getting off the mark with four tucked off his hip, while it was not long before he was charging out of his crease to swat Southee (0-119) straight back down the ground for four more.

Back-to-back boundaries soon followed off Boult, while the first of two sixes from Stokes’ entertaining cameo came when launching Kyle Jamieson (0-66) straight back over his head and into the stands.

His second maximum was another glorious straight hit, this time off the spinner Bracewell (1-48), but Stokes then holed out next ball when looking to clear the ropes again, this time targeting deep mid-wicket but succeeding only in picking out Boult on the boundary.

Ben Stokes slog-sweeps into Trent Boult’s hands off of Michael Bracewell's bowling.

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Ben Stokes slog-sweeps into Trent Boult’s hands off of Michael Bracewell’s bowling.

Ben Stokes slog-sweeps into Trent Boult’s hands off of Michael Bracewell’s bowling.

Ben Foakes (24no) came in and picked up where he and Root left off at Lord’s, the pair playing nicely in an unbroken 68-run stand, although Foakes should have departed for nine, dropped at deep square-leg off Southee – New Zealand’s fourth error in the field to go with England’s five.

The Black Caps were dealt a further blow when Jamieson left the field late on, experiencing ‘sharp pain in his lower left back’ while bowling. Root, meanwhile, continued on his merry way, sweetly-timing a few more to the fence to pass 150 in Tests for the 13th time in his career.

Stats of the day

1 – Pope’s century was his first first-class hundred north of the river Thames, with his other Test century coming at Port Elizabeth and nine of his previous 13 tons scored for Surrey at The Oval (The Ageas Bowl, Guildford, Dubai home to the others).

3 – Root’s arrival at the crease represented only the third time in his last 45 Test innings’ where England’s score was beyond 100.

116 – balls for Root’s fastest century in Test cricket, beating the 118 deliveries for his previous best, made against Australia in the 2015 Ashes at Cardiff.

85.55 – Root averages more at Trent Bridge than any other home venue where he’s played at least two Tests, with his latest ton his fourth (to go with two fifties) in his 11 innings at the venue.

Watch day four of the second LV= Insurance Test between England and New Zealand, at Trent Bridge, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Monday.