|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2013|
DateLine: 21st July 2013
By Andy Jalil at Lord's.
In association with INVESTEC.
London – Joe Root, opening the England batting for only the second time, must certainly have cemented his position at the top of the order after a magnificent unbeaten innings of 178 from 334 balls and with that he ensured that England have taken an emphatic hold on the second Test and in all probability on the series.
In his five-and-a-half hour at the crease he guided England to an impressive 333 for five and an insurmountable overall lead of 566 which will be substantially increased going into the fourth day.
After the second day had cruelly exposed Australia’s hapless batting, the third day’s play made their bowling look quite innocuous as well. With England having lost three early wickets on the previous evening, Root and the nightwatchman Tim Bresnan resumed the second innings on 31 for three – an overall lead of 264 – and slowly began to grind the tourists’ bowling into the dry ground.
The purpose was of course to revive the innings after the early losses and then to consolidate the innings enough to build a large enough lead which would put pressure on Australia batting in the fourth innings on a pitch which had showed clear signs of taking spin when Graeme Swann took his five wickets on the second day.
The scoring was slow but that was of little concern to either batsman and with time on their side they went about building a solid stand bringing up the fifty of the partnership from 134 balls. By lunch they had added 84 in taking England to 114 for three with Bresnan on 32 and Root, who had driven Peter Siddle beautifully to the mid-on boundary to get to 48, had brought up his third Test fifty from 122 balls, was on 63.
It took an hour and a quarter into the second session before the tourists managed to get the breakthrough with the wicket of Bresnan after the batsman had frustrated the attack for just over three hours, facing 137 balls. It was a short ball from Pattinson which he pulled straight to square leg, on 38. His stand of 99 had taken Australia to 129 for four.
Breaking the fourth wicket stand brought no relief to Australia as Root and Ian Bell then combined to cause further agony to the tourist in a 153-run partnership during which Root reached his second Test century from 247 balls when he cut Agar for his twelfth four. Bell went on to bring up his 36th Test fifty and with England on 282 the fifth wicket fell when Bell, on 74, pulled Steve Smith and was held at mid-on.
Root continued to pile on the runs reaching 150 from 311 balls. Having featured in two stands of a century he formed an unbroken one of 51 with Jonny Bairstow towards the end of the day’s play. He had gradually begun to bat with increased aggression after his hundred and later his second six hit in one over off Smith saw him to 175. The first was hit over wide mid-wicket and the second over mid-wicket with 18 runs taken from the penultimate over of the day
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)