Ashes 2013: Joe Root helps England beat Australia into submission on Day 3 of 2nd Test

Joe Root (centre) brought up his highest Test score as he batted through the day to end on 178 not out © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Jul 20, 2013

England made merry on a perfect batting pitch at Lord’s as they posted a total of 333 for five in the second innings of the second Test against Australia, giving them a mammoth lead of 566 at the end of Day Three.
 
Joe Root got his name on the Lord’s honours board as he piled on the runs for his team and misery on the Australians. The 22-year-old scored his second Test century after starting the day on 18 and ended it on 178 not out — his highest Test score. He consumed 334 deliveries and scored at a strike-rate of 53.29, which was boosted in the final session. The innings included as many as 18 boundaries — mostly through the cover-point region — and two sixes over deep midwicket.

Root and England never lost the plot throughout the three sessions of the day. While they scored at a miserly rate in the first two (83 and 57 runs, respectively), they stepped on the gas in the final session (162 runs) and took the game as far away from Australia as is necessary, and a little more. The declaration did not come till the end of play, but the result, in any case, seems a foregone conclusion.

Resuming their innings at 31 for three, England did not lose any wicket in the first session, before night-watchman Tim Bresnan (38) fell post lunch, but not before a deflating 99-run stand with Root. Australian quick Peter Siddle had picked up three wickets towards the fag end of Day Two to give his team some hope. However, it was all wiped off Saturday as Root brought up his third Test fifty in the morning.

Michael Clarke tried all five of his frontline bowlers in the morning session, but to no avail. James Pattinson finally got the breakthrough in the afternoon after Bresnan played an awkward pull straight to midwicket. This brought Ian Bell, fresh from two back-to-back centuries, to the crease. England were in no hurry, with plenty of time left in the game to set a mammoth target and bowl the opposition out. They crawled along at just about two an over and frustrated Australia.

The dagger in the chest of the tourists came when England were on 140 for four. Bell hit Ryan Harris towards gully, where Steven Smith claimed a low catch. Bell wasn’t sure, and so weren’t the two umpires. Their colleague in the television room was consulted, who after several replays concurred that the benefit of the doubt had to go to Bell. Young Smith could not believe it and had reason to be disappointed, as it did appear that he had his fingers under the ball.
 
Bell and Root strolled along to the second interval of the day, with the game now miles away from Australia’s reach. Post tea, the tourists were humiliated further as England pushed their run-rate to above five an over and took their lead above the 500 mark.

Brief scores:

England 361 (Jonathan Trott 58, Ian Bell 109, Jonny Bairstow 67; Ryan Harris 5 for 72, Steven Smith 3 for 18) and 333 for 5 (Joe Root 178*, Ian Bell 74; Peter Siddle 3 for 65) lead Australia 128 (Shane Watson 30; Tim Bresnan 2 for 28, Graeme Swann 5 for 44) by 566 runs.

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