Imperious Root guides England to first-innings lead

By Sports Desk August 14, 2021

Joe Root went past 9,000 career Test runs as he guided England into a first-innings lead on day three of the second Test against India at Lord's.

England's prospects looked bleak on day two when they were reduced to 23-2, but Root led England to the close with just one further wicket lost and turned the game around in style on Saturday with his 11th score of 150 or more in his Test career, taking his average over 50 in the process.

The England captain, who scored 64 and 109 in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge, held the England innings together with supreme poise, playing all around the wicket imperiously and laying the platform through his 121-run stand for the fourth wicket with Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow (57).

Jos Buttler (23) and Moeen Ali (27) were not quite able to match Bairstow's obduracy and Sam Curran went for a duck but the prized wicket of Root did not arrive for India.

Root finished unbeaten on 180, Jimmy Anderson the last man out for England as they were bowled out for 391, a lead of 27.

Bairstow's fifty was his first in the longest format since the drawn Ashes series of 2019 but he was gone when he misjudged a pull shot from Mohammed Siraj, meaning Buttler was at the other end when Root made it to three figures once more.

Root rarely looked troubled as India toiled without reward until the excellent Ishant Sharma bowled Buttler and dismissed Moeen and Curran in near-identical fashion - caught in the slips from successive balls.

That left Root, who earlier guided a four through gully to reach 150, to fend off his second hat-trick ball of the innings. He was then forced to protect Anderson after Ollie Robinson fell to Siraj and Mark Wood was run out, but the number 11 was bowled by Mohammed Shami with the final ball of another glorious day for Root.

Root frustrates India again

England's star man with the bat in this series, Root already has a double century against India this year, scoring 218 in Chennai back in February after one in Sri Lanka the previous month.

Barring something truly remarkable in the second innings, he will have to wait until the third Test to have the chance to record another, but his job in turning a perilous situation into a positive one for England is done, with India's frustration encapsulated by the exasperated expressions of Siraj and Virat Kohli after Root survived a review when the verdict was umpire's call in the final session.

Siraj stands out

Siraj had every reason to be irritated as that unsuccessful review denied him a five-wicket haul. Though Ishant could rival him for impact, no India bowler could match Siraj for work rate.

He ended the innings having got through 30 overs, bowling seven maidens with an economy rate of 3.13. His dismissal of Robinson was a lesson in persistence as it came after three deliveries that yielded lbw appeals were deemed to be going down leg side. He deserved a place on the Honours Board, but will now need to replicate that performance in the second innings to etch his name into Lord's history.

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