2nd Test, Nottingham, June 10 - 14, 2022, New Zealand tour of England
553 & 284
(T:299) 539 & 299/5

England won by 5 wickets

Player Of The Match

Joe Root, Ollie Pope fulfil captain's decree of positivity

Pope vindicates selection at No. 3 as Root races to fastest century of his career

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Joe Root consoles Ollie Pope after he fell for 145, England vs New Zealand, 2nd Test, Nottingham, 3rd day, June 12, 2022

Joe Root consoles Ollie Pope after he fell for 145  •  Getty Images

England 473 for 5 (Root 163*, Pope 145, Lees 67, Boult 3-89) trail New Zealand 553 (Mitchell 190, Blundell 106, Anderson 3-62) by 80 runs
"That's what I'm talking about!" Ben Stokes might well have said watching Ollie Pope and Joe Root follow his captain's decree for England to be "even more positive" than they were in victory at Lord's.
While Root's second century in as many Test innings was almost expected given his rich run of form and the batting-friendly Trent Bridge pitch, it was no less eye-catching for its intent, fluency and importance to England's task of closing in on New Zealand's huge first-innings 553. By stumps, England had added 383 runs on the third day, reducing the deficit to 80 runs with Root unbeaten on 163.
But it was Pope's ton - his second in Tests and first on home soil, coming in just his third innings at No. 3 - that grabbed a big chunk of the headlines on a good-news day for the hosts. Stokes himself snatched back some of the attention with his positive - or downright aggressive - innings of 46 off just 33 balls, and opener Alex Lees wrote a little think-piece of his own by reaching his maiden Test fifty in his ninth innings before falling to a loose shot for 67.
Pope's innings vindicated the new England regime's bold call to promote him to No. 3. Despite never having batted above No. 4 in first-class cricket before last week's first Test at Lord's, Pope told ESPNcricinfo last month: "I've always seen myself as a top-order batter in red-ball cricket." His inexperience in the position and scores of 7 and 10 from his first two outings fuelled doubts over the decision to promote him.
He answered those doubts on Sunday with an assured knock that included 13 fours and three sixes. He had pressed the accelerator on the second evening: after facing 45 balls for his first 11 runs, he raced to 37 from 56 as he twice pulled Matt Henry for six. He should have been gone shortly afterwards but Daryl Mitchell dropped a slip catch off Trent Boult, just one instance in a rash of fielding errors by both teams.
Pope went on to raise his fifty by stumps and went to lunch on the third day unbeaten on 84 after Lees took a more attacking role through the morning session. He cruised towards his ton after the break however, whipping Boult through midwicket for four and moving to 98 with a late back-cut off Henry which bounced over gully for another boundary.
He raised his ton with a push to deep cover off Henry's next ball and a sprint, which was punctuated by a brief hesitation before he saw Root - head-down, steaming back for the second run - and continued on his way, celebrating with clenched fists and a fired-up look on his face before receiving a warm embrace from Root.
Root brought up back-to-back centuries after his match-winning 115 not out in the first Test. This one was the fastest of his Test career, which now boasts 27 tons in all, coming off just 116 deliveries.
Pope fell to the seventh ball after tea. Having paused for running repairs at the end of the first over when his pad strap snapped while he dived to complete a quick single, he tried to pull a Boult short ball but sent a top-edge sailing into the air and Henry, running in from fine leg, took an excellent catch diving forwards. His dismissal ended a 187-run stand with Root.
Root set out at a rapid rate reaching 35 not out off just 43 balls by lunch, which included seven fours and a second life on 27 when his attempted cut off Boult resulted in a top-edge flying high and through Tim Southee's hands at second slip.
Root brought up his fifty from just 56 deliveries - his fastest in Tests - with a flick off Henry to the rope through midwicket and his hundred with an under-edged cut off Mitchell, although the manner in which he reached the milestone didn't matter given some of his strokeplay, like his straight-driven four off Southee after he had passed 150 that was greeted by a sea of footwear held aloft by the crowd singing: "Shoes off if you love Joe Root."
Jonny Bairstow's dismissal for 8 shortly after Pope departed came as New Zealand had their appeal for caught behind turned down and reviewed, with replays showing Boult's delivery which cut back in off the seam brushing Bairstow's glove on its way through to Tom Blundell. It meant that in eight Test innings since his century in the first Test against West Indies in March, Bairstow has failed to reach 30.
It also brought Stokes to the crease and he plundered six fours and two sixes before he mistimed a slog-sweep to the offspin of debutant Michael Bracewell and was caught by Boult.
Lees had finally reached fifty in his ninth England innings, having acknowledged before this Test that he could do with a "good score". Some fluid drives off the front foot as he amassed 11 boundaries were a case in point after he had come into this week with 171 Test runs and a highest score of 31.
Having been dropped by Mitchell on 12 during the second evening, there's no doubt, however, that his dismissal driving at a Henry delivery well outside off stump and edging to slip - where Mitchell held on this time - wasn't quite what he had in mind.
Ben Foakes, who joined Root in an unbroken stand of 120 as England won the first Test by five wickets, was also the beneficiary of a fielding mistake on 9 after he top-edged Southee to deep square leg, where Will Young dropped a sitter.
In more bad news for New Zealand, strike bowler Kyle Jamieson left the field midway through the evening session suffering "sharp pain" in his lower back and did not return. By the close, Foakes remained united with Root, their latest partnership worth 68 so far.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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