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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Joe Root shines before New Zealand collapse in second Test

Ben Stokes’ declaration paid immediate dividends as Anderson scythed through New Zealand’s top order with three quick wickets

Reuters Wellington Published 26.02.23, 04:31 AM
Joe Root.

Joe Root. File picture

An unbeaten Joe Root century and a bowling masterclass by James Anderson put England in complete control of the second Test on Saturday, as New Zealand’s hopes of levelling the series plunged with shambolic batting on a rain-hit Day II.

New Zealand were 138/7 when showers fell midway through the last session and forced play to be halted for the day, still 297 runs short of England’s declared first innings total of 435/8.

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Though Harry Brook (186) was denied a double-century in a 302-run stand with Root, the former England skipper marched on to an unbeaten 153.

Ben Stokes’ declaration paid immediate dividends as Anderson, the world’s top-ranked Test bowler at the age of 40, scythed through New Zealand’s top order with three quick wickets.

Spinner Jack Leach grabbed another three and Stuart Broad one victim, leaving wicketkeeper Tom Blundell (25 not out) and tail-ender captain Tim Southee (23 not out) with an improbable rescue mission.

“I just think it was a brilliant call, personally, from him,” Root said of Stokes’ declaration.

Though New Zealand were thrashed by 267 runs in the series-opener in Mount Maunganui, they have plunged to new depths in the nation’s capital, leaving home fans in the sold-out crowd dismayed. Their bowlers were humiliated by Brook and Root on Day I, and their batsmen crumbled meekly on Day II.

Five of them fell due to poor shot selection, including Kane Williamson who was caught behind off Anderson for four with a loose shot.

Anderson has now dismissed New Zealand’s top batsman nine times.

A draw will be enough for England to complete their first series win in the nation since 2008.

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