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Cricket | International

Joe Root © Gallo Images

Root ton hands day to England

Joe Root hit a maiden test century on his home ground at Headingley and county colleague Jonny Bairstow chipped in with 64 to leave England on top at 337 for seven in the second test against New Zealand on Saturday.

Root, in his sixth test, punched the air and gleefully hugged fellow Yorkshireman Bairstow after steering Doug Bracewell to the third-man boundary to bring up his hundred.

"It was a fantastic moment. I lost it a bit...got lost in the moment and I'll always remember it," said Root whose previous test best was the 73 he made on debut against India last year.

"To play here for England is very special. I enjoyed every minute of it."

Batting with ease and showing exemplary timing, Root and Bairstow made New Zealand's attack toil in a fifth-wicket stand of 124 on an extended second day.

New Zealand stemmed the tide when Trent Boult took three quick wickets with the new ball but Matt Prior and Graeme Swann responded with a quickfire half-century stand to leave England well-placed to push on towards 400 on Sunday.

Root's hundred was reward for the promise the 22-year-old has shown since making his test debut in India last year. He was equally adept on both the front and back foot and punished anything short and wide.

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Root, perhaps still savouring his big moment, departed for 104 to the first delivery with the second new ball when he edged Boult to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, one of five catches for the New Zealand captain.

Root lamented a "terrible shot" that he said allowed the tourists to get back into the game.

"In cricket you don't want to give them a sniff and I'm disappointed I did that," he told a news conference.

Bairstow, a year older than Root, appeared well-set to follow Root to three figures until he too nicked the reinvigorated Boult behind to trudge off nine runs later.

After the opening day was washed out by rain, England lost Nick Compton (1), Jonathan Trott (28) and Alastair Cook (34) in the morning session, the latter pair falling in successive balls just before lunch to leave England stuttering at 67 for three.

Root and Bell added 79 for the fourth wicket on a track that appeared to offer less assistance to New Zealand's four-pronged seam attack as the day progressed.

Bell fell for 30 to the occasional off-spin of Kane Williamson before Root and Bairstow came together and made hay in bright sunshine, much to the delight of the Yorkshire crowd.

After both departed and Stuart Broad fell for a duck, Prior (38 not out) and Swann (21 not out) pushed on, although Prior enjoyed a let-off when Bracewell dropped a hard chance at mid-wicket off Tim Southee.

Southee, who took 10 wickets in a losing cause at Lord's where England won the first test by 170 runs, had struck in the fourth over of the morning when he removed Compton.

The opener, a late-comer to the test arena last year at the age of 29, drove at a fullish ball that swung away late and edged head high to Dean Brownlie at third slip.

Compton has scored just 47 runs in five test innings since making centuries in the first two tests of the drawn series in New Zealand in March.

With Kevin Pietersen's imminent return from injury, the Somerset man will face further questions over his technique and has come under pressure to retain his place ahead of the Ashes series with Australia starting in July.

Report Day 1

ENGLAND: AN Cook (capt), NRD Compton, IJL Trott, IR Bell, JE Root, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wk), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, ST Finn, JM Anderson

NEW ZEALAND: PG Fulton, HD Rutherford, KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, DG Brownlie, MJ Guptill, BB McCullum (capt & wk), TG Southee, DAJ Bracewell, N Wagner, TA Boult


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