England Lions v NZ, Tour Match, Grace Road, 4th day

New Zealand finally uproot Joe

Andrew McGlashan at Grace Road

May 12, 2013

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A

England Lions 433 for 7 (Root 179, Carberry 77, Bairstow 68) drew with New Zealanders 285 (Rutherford 126, Roland-Jones 4-54)
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Joe Root walks off after making 179, England Lions v New Zealanders, Tour match, Grace Road, 4th day, May 12, 2013
Joe Root's prolific scoring has given him an outside chance of reaching 1000 runs before June © Getty Images
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Joe Root was finally dismissed on the fourth morning of another rain-soaked day, but not before taking his season tally to 646 runs and raise the slim prospect of an England batsman challenging for 1000 first-class runs before the end of May for the second season running.

Last summer Nick Compton was denied by rain - then reached the landmark a day late on June 1 - and although it remains an outside chance for Root (more than 300 runs in a two-Test series would be a huge achievement, especially batting in the middle order) he has a potential four innings remaining in the month, with Tests at Lord's and then his homeground at Headingley.

This was his third score over 150 this season - and his second-lowest score of the summer - following the 182 and 236 he made in the Championship for Yorkshire, and he could not be heading into the Test series in better form. He took his boundary count to 25 on the final morning - the cover drives standing out - before being slightly late on a delivery from Doug Bracewell that took out off stump.

New Zealand's two fit seamers - Bracewell and Trent Boult - bowled high-class spells in the absence of Tim Southee who is nursing a foot injury that makes him doubtful for Lord's. Boult swung the ball into the right-handers, then made others hold their line to beat the edge, and was rewarded with Jonny Bairstow's wicket.

Bairstow had breezed to 68, although his half-century came with an inside edge past the stumps, as his partnership with Root was extended to 135 in 26 overs. The Yorkshire pair could be a part of England's future for many years to come.

Bracewell, working up good pace from the Bennett End and finding some swing, claimed his second wicket of the day when he took out Chris Woakes' off stump with one that nipped away. Following his haul against Derbyshire, Bracewell has made a strong case to force his way back into the Test side although Southee's injury could yet make it a simple decision.

Root's dominance of this match took the spotlight away from other Lions batsmen trying to impress the selectors. Ravi Bopara played some attractive shots - especially a straight drive off Bracewell - as he made the most of the decision to bat on throughout the morning rather than declare.

The senior England team will be pleased that New Zealand were denied another bat, particularly as Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor have only had one innings on the trip. The rain arrived during lunch and didn't relent, leaving them to rely on nets ahead of the Test.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (May 13, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

Shame the rain spoilt the game somewhat but the Lions did well. Joe Root really in the zone at the moment, 3 hundreds in a row and the lowest 179 is some kind of form! Would love to see him open in the test match or at least play at number 4 above Bell

Posted by ashes61 on (May 13, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

Yes, looking OK for ENG but no room for complacency - I was very impressed by the Kiwis in the recent Test series. Much may depend on weather, pitches & preparation completed by each camp. Although matches aren't won on paper, the line-up looks steady. With a batting order of Cook, Compton, Trott, Bell, Root, Bairstow & Prior, plenty of runs should be forthcoming. The reserves situation also look encouraging, with Morgan, Taylor, Bopara, Carberry & Pietersen in the wings, although I don't see any of them getting a chance without serious injury to a 1st team player, with the possible exception of Morgan. If the top 6 fire in these two Tests, that should be it for the 10 Ashes Tests, unless a form change is needed by the time they get Down Under. Certainly expecting a much stiffer test of ENG's resolve & skills from NZ than from poor old OZ, who look right out of it.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 13, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

@Noel Petty, IMO Root must bat at 6 in the ashes. Since Collingwood retired & Bell's move up the order to 5 we have not found anyone who has remotly fitted the bill until now. The top 5 looks good to me & if we have Root at 6 & Prior 7 then our batting looks as solid as it ever has.There may still be some questions marks over Compton but 2 test 100s & an ave of 40 in his first 7 tests is a more than satisfactory return, espically considering all the tests were away from home. There may already be another natural opening batman of some quality waiting in the wings in Sam Robson (As long as Aus don't nab him first) so I would certainly leave Root where he is.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (May 13, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

Thought we had something special in williamson but he's got nothing on this kid at the moment, not to say williamson wont get there he's very talented. They are both very similar players, top order right handed batters, both off spinners so it will be interesting to see who has the better series out of these two and who has the best numbers by the end of their carears at the moment your money would be on root but we'll see.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (May 13, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

It would appear that Randy, a truly loyal & patriotic Aussie, is closely following the example of the Oz cricketers and not doing his homework!

CA's cunning new method of judging the strength of the reserves, tossing a baggy green to a chap like Rob Quiney and seeing if he can do any better than Hughes, says a thing or 2 about Oz's currently very shallow pool. Quiney took very seriously his selection as Oz's new # 3, and made sure that his test average exactly matched his position in the batting order. As Hughes' test ave is 33, it is thus clearly established that the Oz reserves are 10 times worse than Hughes - a really frightening concept, but in the "New Stralia," a harsh reality!

Even more frightening, his 9 runs on debut, Quiney were twice as much as the combined scores Warner & Ponting! Poor feller, Quiney, those were the only runs he scored in test cricket, bagging a pair in his next, and last game. A baggy green is just not what it used to be!

About those reserves, Randy?

Posted by   on (May 13, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

Shame the rain spoilt the game somewhat but the Lions did well. Joe Root really in the zone at the moment, 3 hundreds in a row and the lowest 179 is some kind of form! Would love to see him open in the test match or at least play at number 4 above Bell

Posted by Cover_Drive_Comrade on (May 12, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

Joe Root, Is My most favourite young-star-high scoring-top class and most good-looking batsman of the Years 2012-13 | The best innings OR the match where I knew he was incredible with a bat in hand was in One of the matches of the India Vs England ODI Series where he racked up his ODI Career-Best (79*)!

Posted by   on (May 12, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

RandyOz The majority of the Lion's batting lineup would walk into the current Australian side. Clarke can't carry you forever.

Posted by jackiethepen on (May 12, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

I don't lament Bopara doing well, although I think he was included because of Flower's favouritism. I think it's a shame that the rain arrived to deprive Bop of a chance of a 50 or more to make up for his terrible run of low scores.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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