Joe Root century powers England to 1-0 lead against New Zealand

Joe Root century powers England to 1-0 lead against New Zealand

The Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era got off to a perfect start as England toppled the inaugural ICC World Test Championship winner’s New Zealand by five wickets in the opening Test of the series at Lord’s. After falling behind on day two, the hosts hit back on the third morning to dismiss New Zealand for 285 before Joe Root scored his 26th Test ton to guide England home in their fourth-innings run chase of 277.

New Zealand entered day three as the favourites to take a 1-0 lead, with overnight batters – Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell – resuming on 97 and 90, respectively. However, the second new ball worked wonders for the hosts as the Blackcaps lost their final six wickets in the space of eight overs for just 34 runs. Daryl Mitchell got on the Lord’s honours board off his first delivery of the day but was dismissed by Stuart Broad on 108 to kickstart the Kiwi collapse. Mitchell’s dismissal was the first of three in three deliveries for the Blackcaps, with Ollie Pope running out Colin de Grandhomme with a direct hit before Stuart Broad burst through the defences of Kyle Jamieson to change the complexion of the innings.

James Anderson got in on the action by removing Tom Blundell four runs shy of a century before debutants – Matt Parkinson and Matty Potts – cleaned up the New Zealand tail to set England a target of 277.

In response, England got off to a familiar shaky start as Kyle Jamieson produced a spell of majestic seam-bowling on either side of Lunch to rattle the top-order. Jamieson removed both openers in his first spell as Alex Lees shouldered arms to a delivery angling in while Zak Crawley edged to gully before Trent Boult snuck one through the defences of Ollie Pope from round the wicket.

Jonny Bairstow looked positive in his short span at the crease, but the Yorkshireman was bowled through the gate by Jamieson while attempting a booming cover drive to leave England reeling at 69 for four. The hosts seemed to have slipped further when Colin de Grandhomme knocked over Ben Stokes for 1, only for the all-rounder to have over-stepped to offer the English captain a match-turning reprieve.

Stokes and Root took control of the chase after that moment of good fortune, with the former captain ticking over neatly while Stokes mowed left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel for three sixes into the grandstand to give the hosts some momentum. 

Although Jamieson dismissed Stokes on 54 with 118 still required, Joe Root found an able partner in Ben Foakes to take England home. The pair survived a testing spell from the Kiwi bowlers on the third evening before scoring the 61 runs needed on day four in just 13.5 overs to give the hosts a morale-boosting victory under new management. Foakes finished unbeaten on 32 while Joe Root notched up his first fourth-innings century in Tests while also becoming just the second Englishman to pass the 10,000-run milestone in red-ball cricket.