Root extends form of life with 121 for England in 3rd test

·2-min read

LEEDS, England (AP) — Carrying on the best form of his life, England captain Joe Root scored his third century of the series against India to move his team into a prime position to win the third test at Headingley on Thursday.

Root struck 121 — adding to knocks of 109 and 180 earlier in the series and three other three-figure scores in 2021 — as England reached 423-8 at the end of Day 2, for a lead of 345 runs.

Root, whose remarkable scoring run this year contains two double centuries including one against India in Chennai, has tied England’s record for the most test hundreds in a calendar year. No previous test captain has scored six centuries in a calendar year.

His total of 1,398 runs from 21 innings in 2021 comes at an average of 69.90.

“There’s so much you can learn as a young player from Joe Root," said England opener Haseeb Hameed, who weighed in with 68. "He’s of the highest class but, for me, what stands out is the simplicity of his game.

“He plays like he has so much time, he’s so diligent and also the mental side of things, to turn up and perform in every innings shows how hungry he is.”

India, which was dismissed for 78 in just 40.4 overs on Wednesday, had no answer to Root's array of shot-making on the ground of his English county side, Yorkshire, and the fans in Headingley's raucous Western Terrace serenaded their man as he hit a boundary into the leg side to reach his century.

Root removed his helmet, leapt into the air and screamed “YES!" before being lifted off his feet by teammate Jonny Bairstow.

Resuming on 120-0 after dominating day 1, England lost both openers — Rory Burns (61) and Hameed — before lunch to bring Root to the crease. He shared a 139-run partnership with Dawid Malan, who was caught behind down the leg side off the final ball of the second session for 70 to end his impressive first test innings since 2018.

Bairstow added 29, and both Jos Buttler (7) and Moeen Ali (8) fell cheaply either side of Root getting bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. The captain walked off the field to a standing ovation.

England still moved beyond 400 with a late flurry of runs, with Craig Overton (23) and Ollie Robinson (0) at the crease at stumps.

“Yesterday was pretty much a perfect day and today we were able to build on that," Hameed said. “We are very happy going into tomorrow.”

England players wore black armbands in honor of Ted Dexter, the former England captain from the 1960s who died on Wednesday.

India leads the five-match series 1-0.

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