Joe Root Shines as England Defeat New Zealand by 5 Wickets in 1st Test
Former England captain Joe Root scored an unbeaten century to guide heir Ben Stokes to a five-wicket win over New Zealand in the first Test at Lord’s on Sunday. Root stepped down as England captain in April after five years and a record 64 matches in charge. But he is far from the team’s best batsman and this century in the ‘house of cricket’ paves the way for England’s second win in 18 Tests.
Former England captain Joe Root scored an unbeaten century
The win, achieved with more than a day left, took England 1–0 in the three-match series against the World Test champions.
England posted 277 for the win, ending at 279 for five, with Root 115 not out – his first fourth-innings century at this level – after the hosts were reduced to 69 for four.
They found excellent support in an unbroken stand of 120 from wicketkeeper Ben Fox (32 not out) as the pair denied New Zealand a breakthrough, after England posted 216 for five on Sunday night.
After completing his 26th century at this level, Root became only the 14th Englishman and second England batsman to score a total of 10,000 runs in Test cricket.
Root was also the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs, equaling retired England captain Alastair Cook’s record of 31 years 157 days.
New Zealand were bundled out for just 132 in their first innings, only to have England struggle for 141 in reply.
‘Mr Dependable’ Joe Root stood up. 100 and 10,000 runs – what a player and what a man,” Stokes said at the presentation ceremony.
Player of the Match Root said: “Of course it feels fantastic. More than anything, first of all, winning this Test match after such a long time is the biggest feeling for us.
“I absolutely love the group of players we play with and I couldn’t have wished for a better person to lead this team.“
Reflecting on the see-saw competition, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said: “I thought the two teams fought hard and we saw how difficult it was and how much it changed, but nothing took away from the quality of English performances. Is.”
England came in this series – their first under new coach Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, at the bottom of the World Test Championship table.
And for the buzz of a new era, the win was from some of England’s most experienced players.
The recalled new-ball pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, two of England’s most successful Test bowlers of all time, took valuable wickets before Root scored a match-winning century.
Play resumed on Sunday after Stokes’ scintillating 54 on Saturday promised to help New Zealand’s pace, with Root leaving 77 not out and England needing 61 more to win.
However, with no more specialist batsmen left, 15 overs were left until New Zealand’s impressive pace attack was able to pick up the new ball.
But England held steady on Sunday before Root fielded Kyle Jamieson to go into the 90s.
Root’s legside clip off Tim Southee’s delivery saw him reach a century off 157 balls including nine fours, appropriately, as he pulled off the pacer for a scintillating boundary, scoring the winning run.
Root and Stokes put on a 90-run fifth-wicket partnership to bring England back into the game from a depth of 69 for four.
However, Stokes was fortunate enough to be relieved on one after Colin de Grandhomme was dismissed for a minor no-ball.
It looked like the deciding stand of this Test would be 195, New Zealand’s fifth-wicket record against England, shared by Daryl Mitchell (108) and Tom Blundell (96).
But just when it looked like New Zealand were about to put the game out of England’s reach, losing three wickets in successive balls, Broad dismissed Mitchell and Jamieson, who were on either side of de Grandhomme’s careless run-out.
The series continues at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge on Friday.