Masterful Root steers England to victory, reaches 10,000 Test runs
Joe Root’s masterful century led England to a five-wicket win in the first Test against New Zealand on the fourth morning at Lord’s.
Root, who ended 115 not out, also became the second England batter after Sir Alastair Cook to reach 10,000 Test runs.
From 216-5 overnight, 61 short of their target of 277, the home side were taken to victory by Root’s unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 120 with Ben Foakes, who made 32 not out.
Despite the challenge of the gloomy conditions, the England pair were assured throughout, taking the tension away from what could have been a nerve-shredding morning.
When Root pulled Tim Southee for the winning boundary, it completed a remarkable turnaround from 69-4 on the third afternoon and finally gave England a Test win after only one in their previous 17 matches.
The success also handed a winning start to new captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
For New Zealand, the world Test champions, a seven-match undefeated run against England has come to an end.
The second match in the three-Test series begins at Trent Bridge on Friday.
History boy Root wins it for England
Even as England crumbled in the final months of his captaincy, Root turned himself into the world’s premier Test batter.
Here, in his first Test since relinquishing the leadership, he gave another demonstration of his class and reaffirmed his importance to this England team.
On a murky morning, with the floodlights on, Root resumed on 77 and continued to bat with the urgency he showed late on Saturday night.
He had the fortune of inside-edging past his stumps on more than one occasion, but when he clipped Southee to mid-wicket to reach three figures he also became the 14th man in Test history to achieve the 10,000-run landmark.
At 31 years and 157 days, he equals Cook’s record as the youngest man to reach the milestone, and he is also the first to do it less than 10 years after his debut- this is his 118th Test since he first played against India in 2012.
Remarkably, given his career accomplishments, this was also Root’s first hundred in the fourth innings of a Test.
He received superb support from Foakes, who made his most telling contribution with the bat since a hundred on debut against Sri Lanka in 2018.
The wicketkeeper scored more freely than the third evening, taking advantage of a New Zealand attack that struggled to use the overhead conditions to their advantage.
New Zealand may have hoped for a boost from the second new ball – available 15 overs into the day – but England made such swift progress it never arrived.
And, when Root hit three boundaries in one Southee over, it completed the third-highest run-chase to win a Test at this famous ground.
The former skipper left to the acclaim of the crowd, wiping tears from his eyes as England’s magnificent match-winner. (BBC Sport)