Joe Root and Oli Pope helped England to a 5-473 century by scoring a century and New Zealand’s huge first innings score of 553 on the third day of the second Test which turned into a batter’s paradise at Trent Bridge.
Root, currently the most in-form batsman in Test cricket in the world, was unbeaten on 163, raising hopes of an unbeaten lead in England’s first innings.
Although Root is accustomed to scoring a century – it was his fourth in his last five Tests and the 27th in his career – Pope has reached three figures for the second time in just four years in the England team and the first at home.
Read more: The NRL confuses the world in response to the star’s ugly behavior
Read more: Ferrari splitter, Red Bull pushing Azerbaijan 6
Read more: The legendary giant Kyrgios calls Wimbledon
Pope’s 145 is his previous best score, an unbeaten 135 against South Africa in January 2020, and justified England’s new leadership’s decision to raise him to No. 3 this summer.
Alex Lees (67) and Ben Stokes (46) were unbeaten on 24 with significant knocks and Ben Fox Root, England trailing by 80 runs.
England are 1-0 up in the three-match series after winning the first Test by five wickets at Lord’s last week.
Supporting it with a win at Nottingham surpassed the hosts when Darrell Mitchell’s 190 led the New Zealanders to their highest Test score in England, but with two days left all the results are now possible.
England scored 383 runs in 88 overs, with Root scoring his fastest century so far – 116 balls.
Waiting for the sixth double century for the route after the last impeccable knock of a player in life form. This is his second century in many Tests since leaving the captaincy, his fifth in his last nine innings at home and his 10th since the start of 2021.
He now sits with his contemporaries Steve Smith and Virat Kohli for 27 centuries and there is a growing feeling that he is the one who can throw the pack behind.
“We are witnessing something special,” former England captain Michael Vaughan told the BBC. “I’ve known Joe for years and I really believe he’s the best player in England.”
England started the day 1-90, and Lis set the tone for the third ball of the morning, pounding Tim Southee (0-119) for four cover points. The left-hander had a good value for his first England Fifty, opening well offside to get the Seamers back on his pads. Lees also dropped the ball well but his decision faltered for a moment when Matt Henry was weighed in the wide delivery and fell behind the catch.
Pope started less firmly, hitting Trent Bolt (3-69) twice in front of the slip in the morning session that he saw adding a gentle 33 in two hours as Lis, then Root, took the driving seat.
After lunch, Pope took just 10 balls to go from 84 to his long-awaited century. A set of four overthroughs helped but there were also three boundaries in the middle of the bat as he found his time.
Pope made his only other century in 34 innings and two and a half years ago in Port Elizabeth, and his joyous celebration told their own story. Route 40 meters ran to join.
England scored 136 in a wicketless session in the afternoon, adding an uppercut six off Pope Henry’s ball to a collection of flashy cross-bat strokes.
Maybe after drinking tea, the tempo rose again. Bolt hit the second new ball twice, Pope made a tight top-aging to end a memorable position and Johnny Bairstow caught behind the one who swallowed the gloves.
England were still more than 200 behind when Stokes was out, but he started in fifth gear and never backed down. He hit 46 off 33 balls, a furious attack with two sixes and six fours that was too quick for some observers. His third ball from spinner Michael Bracewell, who claimed his first Test wicket in his debut, proved his resilience.
Root crossed the 150 mark smoothly, taking the deficit to a double figure at the same time, with Ben Fox backing up well after Will Young’s fungus returned him with nine runs.
To get a daily dose of the best breaking news and exclusive content from the Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter Click here!