|Root delight as his 226 sets up England final day push| HAMILTON (NEW ZEALAND), Dec 2: Joe Root could not hide his delight after a masterful 226 ended his run drought and gave England a much-needed boost in the second Test against New Zealand on Monday as they ended day four believing they can square the series.
England’s Joe Root bats during play on day four of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Monday. – AP/PTI
It took a five-wicket haul for the tireless Neil Wagner to bring England’s first innings to an end at 476, a lead of 101.
At stumps, New Zealand were 96 for two and needing to bat late into the final day although rain may yet have the last word with further showers forecast for Tuesday.
“It felt good,” a beaming Root said as he put a stream of low scores behind him.
“Once I got in and had the bit between my teeth I wanted to make it a real big one and try and get us in a position where we can force a result in this game.
“I know there’s a bit of weather around but you just never know. It’ll be one big last push from everyone to try and come away with a levelled-up series.”
Root said it had been a frustration more than a worry that he had gone 14 Test innings without a century but his return to form gave him confidence.
“It’s nice to get back to scoring some big runs,” he said.
“I found a really good rhythm out there, felt pretty comfortable and I just wanted to keep going.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had that amount of time out in the middle and you get really hungry for it.”
New Zealand openers Jeet Raval (nought) and Tom Latham (18) were out early in their second innings, and for Raval it continued a disappointing run in which he has failed to reach double figures in six of his last 10 innings.
New Zealand 1st innings 375
England 1st innings (overnight 269-5): R Burns run out (Raval/Watling) 101, D Sibley lbw Southee 4, J Denly c Watling b Henry 4, J Root c Nicholls b Santner 226, B Stokes c Taylor b Southee 26, Z Crawley c Watling b Wagner 1, O Pope c Raval b Wagner 75, S Curran not out 11, C Woakes c Watling b Wagner 0, J Archer b Wagner 8, C Broad b Wagner 0. Extras: (b4, lb14, w1, nb1) 20. Total: (all out; 162.5 overs) 476. Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-24, 3-201, 4-245, 5-262, 6-455, 7-458, 8-460, 9-476, 10-476. Bowling: Southee 37-4-90-2, Henry 33-6-87-1, Wagner 35.5-3-124-5, Mitchell 22-5-69-0, Santner 35-4-88-1.
New Zealand 2nd innings: T Latham c Root b Woakes 18, J Raval lbw 0, K Williamson not out 37, R Taylor not out 31. Extras: (b1, lb2, w2, p5) 10. Total: (two wickets; 34 overs) 96. Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-28. Bowling: Broad 5-0-18-0, Curran 8-1-26-1, Archer 7-0-19-0, Woakes 7-3-8-1, Stokes 6-1-17-0, J. Denly 1-1-0-0. – AFP