Saturday, 14 August 2021 20:28

Joe Root hits imperious 180 not out as England earn 27-run lead over India.

Staff Reporter.

An imperious, unbeaten 180 from England captain Joe Root earned his side a 27-run first-innings lead over India by stumps on day three of this fascinating second Test.

Root took full advantage of ideal batting conditions, with Lord's bathed in sunshine, to bring up his 22nd Test ton - and fifth in the calendar year - before kicking on past 150 for the 11th time in his Test career.

Root shared in significant partnerships with Jonny Bairstow (57), Jos Buttler (23) and Moeen Ali (27), but the middle-order trio will feel aggrieved not to have cashed in more - particularly Bairstow, who batted beautifully in putting on 121 with his skipper before being bounced out by Mohammed Siraj (4-94).

Moeen's dismissal also somewhat derailed the innings late in the day, as he and Sam Curran fell to consecutive Ishant Sharma (3-69) deliveries, while Ollie Robinson (6) departed soon after with the hosts still seven runs shy of India's score.

But Root remained, seeing England into a lead and extending that with some T20-style fun late on - a sensational reverse-ramp four off Siraj the standout - before the innings was ended as James Anderson was bowled by Mohammed Shami (2-95) with the final ball before the close.

Earlier, Root had reached the first of his many milestones for the day in the second over as he steered Siraj away for four through point to bring up his fifty, though it would be Bairstow who would largely dominate the remainder of the morning session, racing to a half century of his own - a couple of classical on-drives sent crashing to the fence to emphasise his fine form.

Eager to force a much-needed breakthrough, there would be a change in approach from India after the interval, with some short-pitched bowling unsettling the England pair and ultimately bringing about Bairstow's downfall. Siraj, bowling from round the wicket, banged in another halfway down and the ball brushed the batsman's glove as he looked to hook and looped to Virat Kohli at slip.

Buttler was next in, still searching for form in the red-ball format. He survived a strong lbw shout from Ravi Jadeja when on 1 and was also fortunate not to be run out as Root called him through for the single that would bring up his century - a direct hit might well have been curtains for the England wicketkeeper.

Root was more in control when steering four behind square off Jasprit Bumrah later in the afternoon session to take him past 9,000 Test runs, while Buttler eventually began to settle and sent a couple of flashy drives to the boundary.

But, soon after the fifty partnership came up between the pair, Ishant nipped one down the slope from the Pavilion End and back into Buttler to bowl him through the gate.

Moeen was a little scratchy to start his innings, playing and missing on multiple occasions as he scored just a solitary single from his opening 20 deliveries, but a punched four through to covers to bring up the England 300 eventually got him going.

Root, meanwhile, continued on his merry way and went past 150 shortly after tea with four flashed through the slips. Ishant the unfortunate bowler, but he'd be rewarded for a fine spell soon after as Moeen and Curran nicked near identical deliveries.

Angled in from round the wicket, on a fourth-stump line, Moeen's just nipped away a touch more, grasped by Kohli at second slip - a low chance, checked by the third umpire - while Curran sent his finer to Rohit Sharma at first.

It left Root tasked with facing a hat-trick delivery for the second day running when Ishant returned, but the England captain, in such sublime touch, safely saw it off.

As England moved into a lead, and as he ran out of partners, Root had some fun late in the day - certainly more than James Anderson did at the other end as he took a blow on the helmet from Bumrah in the midst of a barrage of bouncers, before being bowled for a 16-ball duck - England all out for 391.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.