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Pope and Root hit tons in England fightback

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12th June, 2022
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Joe Root has scored his fastest Test century while Ollie Pope struck a superb 145, as England launched a stirring fightback to reach 5-473 after the third day of the second Test against New Zealand.

Resuming on 1-90 on Sunday morning after the tourists had posted a massive first-innings total of 553, England excelled on a good batting wicket at a sunny Trent Bridge to trail by just 80 when stumps were drawn.

Root was unbeaten on 163 with Ben Foakes not out on 24 after being handed a lifeline.

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Pope, dropped early in his innings on Saturday, looked in sublime form for most of the day to notch his second Test ton as the hosts made New Zealand toil with former captain Root joining in the fun after opener Alex Lees fell for 67.

“Amazing. He’s England’s greatest,” Pope told the BBC while discussing Root. 

“Watching him do what he’s doing at the moment, it’s a joy to be a part of in the changing room or out there in the middle with him. It’s amazing to watch.”

oe Root of England give a media interview after day three of the Third Test match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Darrian Traynor – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

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Root arrived having hit an unbeaten 115 to guide England to a five-wicket win in the first Test but endured nervy moments early on and was lucky to survive after he flashed at a ball from Tim Southee who also dropped him at slip.

But the 31-year-old regained his composure to bring up his half-century off 56 deliveries, before frustrating New Zealand, who struggled to contain the batters as they took their team past the 300-run mark in the 75th over.

A reverse sweep off Michael Bracewell took Root to 97 before an inside edge for four off Daryl Mitchell two overs later completed his 27th Test century and fourth at this venue, with the knock coming off only 116 balls.

It was Root’s fourth century in five Tests, coming after he reached 10,000 runs in the format in the last match, and a flick off the pads for four took him to 150 as he put New Zealand to the sword.

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Earlier, it did not take long after lunch for Pope to score his century – his first since 2020 and first on home soil – as he cut Matt Henry for four before pushing him through cover for two to draw loud cheers.

Pope fell early in the final session as he top-edged one to Matt Henry off Trent Boult, who then removed Jonny Bairstow for eight after a review showed he edged the ball to the keeper.

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Skipper Ben Stokes’ blitz had New Zealand in a spot of bother but he perished for 46 attempting one too many sixes, as Bracewell claimed an important maiden wicket on debut.

However, the Black Caps squandered another opportunity when Will Young dropped Foakes on ten.

Lees had looked in good form earlier, bringing up his maiden Test 50 with a four off Kyle Jamieson, who later sustained a back injury.

On 67, however, Lees chased a wide delivery from Henry to edge it to Mitchell at slip.

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