Captain lifts England with smashing show

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 3 Dec 2019

Joe Root could not hide his delight after a masterful 226 ended his run drought and gave England a boost in the second Test against New Zealand as they ended day four believing they can square the series.

It took a five-wicket haul for the tireless Neil Wagner to end England's first innings at 476 - a lead of 101.

At stumps in Hamilton, New Zealand were 96 for two and needing to bat late into the final day.

"It felt good," Root said as he put a string 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."

The England captain added that it had been a frustration more than a worry that he had gone 14 Test innings without a century.

New Zealand openers Jeet Raval (0) and Tom Latham (18) went early in their second innings. But after taking over at 28 for two Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor prevented further damage. Williamson was on 37 and Taylor 31 at stumps.

England had been 24 for two in their first innings when Root went in to control proceedings in a knock that saw him facing 441 deliveries in nearly 11 hours.

It was his third double-century and was 28 runs short of his Test best 254 against Pakistan three years ago.

But Root's fine timing deserted him when a bid to hit Mitchell Santner out of the ground turned into a soft catch to Henry Nicholls at deep cover.

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