England vs. New Zealand: Joe Root wins a hundred seals at Lord’s

First LV= insurance test, Lord’s (day four)
New Zealand 132 (Pots 4-13, Anderson 4-66) & 285 (Mitchell 108, Blundell 96)
UK 141 (Southee 4-55) & 216-5 (Root 115*, Stokes 54; Jamieson 4-59)
England won by five wickets; Lead series 1:0

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 finished 115 Not Out, was also the second England batter, after Sir Alastair Cook, to reach 10,000 Test runs.

From 216-5 overnight, 61 shy of their target of 277, Root’s undefeated six-wicket tally of 120 with Ben Foakes not making 32 carried the home team to victory.

Despite the challenge of the dismal conditions, the England pair stayed safe throughout, taking the strain out of what could have been a nerve-wracking morning.

As root Tim Southee drew for the win line, he completed a remarkable turnaround to 69-4 on the third afternoon and finally gave England a Test victory after just one in the previous 17 games.

The success also gave new captain Ben Stokes and trainer Brendon McCullum a winning start.

A seven-match unbeaten run against England has come to an end for New Zealand, the Test world champions.

The second match in the three Test series begins Friday at Trent Bridge.

History boy Root wins for England

Even as England collapsed in the final months of his captaincy, Root made himself the world’s top Test bat.

Here he showed his class again in his first test since giving up the lead and reaffirmed his importance to this English team.

On a dreary morning, with the floodlights on, Root resumed number 77 and continued hitting with the urgency he had shown late Saturday night.

He was lucky to get past his stumps more than once, but when he got Southee on center of goal to go into three figures, he also became the 14th man in Test history to reach the 10,000-run mark.

At 31 years and 157 days, he equals Cook’s record as the youngest man to reach that milestone, and he’s also the first to do so less than 10 years after his debut – this is his 118th Test since his first in 2012 played against India.

Remarkably, given his career accomplishments, this was also Root’s first hundred in the fourth innings of a Test.

He received excellent support from Foakes, who made his most meaningful contribution with the racquet in a hundred on his debut against Sri Lanka in 2018.

The wicketkeeper scored more freely than on the third night, taking advantage of a New Zealand attacking effort that struggled to use the overhead conditions to his advantage.

New Zealand may have hoped for a boost from the second new ball – available after 15 overs a day – but England have made progress so quickly it never arrived.

And when Root crossed three borders in a Southee, it completed the third-highest running hunt to win a test at that famous terrain.

The former skipper left to applause from the crowd, wiping tears as England’s magnificent match winner.

England prevails in Lord’s Thriller

This win should be a huge morale boost for England, not only because of the successful start to the Stokes-McCullum era or their dreadful form of late, but also because of the way the hosts hit back after certainly having struck seemed to become.

New Zealand started day three 227 runs ahead, only for England to win the tourists’ final six second-innings wickets for 34 runs. As England suffered another top-flight collapse, they faced a heavy defeat before Root, Stokes and Foakes clinched a memorable victory.

In truth, the new management will have learned little this week. England’s bowling is dangerous when the ball is moving and often toothless when it isn’t, and hitting relies heavily on Root and Stokes. At least one big improvement came in England’s fielding.

The challenge for Stokes and McCullum is to build on that to either improve the players who are struggling at this level or identify some who are more likely to succeed.

As for New Zealand, it is typical of their fighting ability that they have so narrowly overtaken England. They’re a team in transition after a couple of important failures, had little preparation for this game and were 45-7 on the first day but still close to winning.

Indeed, given their position at various times on Saturday, the Black Caps will feel like they should have triumphed. Had Colin de Grandhomme not gone too far bowling Stokes when he only had one, they probably would have. Stokes went on to make a crucial 54.

The tourists are likely to be better when they arrive in Nottingham, meaning England need to find further improvements to win this series.

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