Racine and the Pope’s Centuries fuel England’s fightback against New Zealand | Cricket News



NOTTINGHAM (UK): Joe Root managed for a majestic 163 not out and Ollie Pope hit his highest Test score of 145 as England trailed to 473-5 against New Zealand at the end of the game on the third day of the second test.
Responding to New Zealand’s colossal first set score of 553, Root and Pope took full advantage of docile ground with a searing run at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
Thanks to the pair’s impressive displays, England are able to match or surpass New Zealand’s total in a test that could be destined for a draw with two days to go.
Freed from the oppressive shackles of the English captaincy after handing the role to Stokes earlier this year, Root was in vibrant mood as he displayed his full range of strokes in his 27th century of testing.
Needing just 116 balls to hit his fastest Test ton, Root picked up where he left off at Lord’s with a second straight century.
His 115 unexpired wins led England to a thrilling five-wicket win over the World Test champions in the opening match of the three-game series.
Bolstering his case for being considered England’s greatest batsman of all time, Root’s fourth Test century this year took the 31-year-old into rarefied air.
He passed Pakistan’s Younis Khan and India’s Sunil Gavaskar in his rounds to become the 12th top scorer in Test history.
Pope’s second Test century came after he was given a surprise promotion to number three by England captain Ben Stokes early in the series.
It was Pope’s first Test ton since scoring 135 in South Africa in January 2020.
The 24-year-old’s place in England has at times been in doubt due to shoulder injuries and a lack of form.
But, battling in a position he had never held before for England or Surrey before the first Test, Pope repaid the faith of Stokes and manager Brendon McCullum.
Earlier, Alex Lees compiled his highest Test score of 67 to set the tone for England’s prolific day, which featured 383 runs in total.
Just before lunch, Root escaped when he edged Trent Boult to Tim Southee, who let the ball squirm in his hands as he raised them above his head in a failed attempt to make a difficult grip.
At touching distance from his ton, Pope whipped Boult at mid-wicket for four and reached his milestone with a comfortable drive for two.
Joy and relief were etched on Pope’s face as he absorbed the crowd’s applause and received a warm hug from Root after his first-class 14th cent.
Root took advantage of a lucky break to reach his century with a misplaced cut that went through his stumps before waving his bat triumphantly.
Pope’s innings came to an end when, in the first ball after changing his damaged pads, he mistimed a Boult out and was caught by diving Matt Henry.
While purists might have questioned the approach in a Test setting, Stokes opted for brute force as he embraced McCullum’s desire for England to play aggressively at all times.
He smashed Kyle Jamieson for a six amid a boundary flurry before the New Zealand bowler hobbled with an apparent injury the height of his bruised ego.
New Zealand said Jamieson was “off the pitch after experiencing severe pain in his left lower back. He is currently being assessed by medical staff”.
Stokes’ 33-ball cameo ended on 46 when he struggled one too many times on Bracewell and Boult held the hold.
Ben Foakes successfully reversed a decision made after the review showed he hadn’t touched Henry’s delivery.
Foakes, who had another moment of good fortune as Will Young reversed a hold on Southee, went on to complete 24 paces.
It was the day of the incomparable Root and it hit 150 for the 13th time in the tests with a wonderful borderline flick.


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