Jeet Raval’s remarkable non-review, Joe Root’s risky run to reach his double ton but is there time for England to force a win? Here is what you need to know from day four in Hamilton…
SCORECARD | HOW IT HAPPENED
Joe Root scored a magnificent double hundred as England put themselves in a position to push for victory in the second Test against New Zealand, writes Sam Drury.
The England captain was eventually dismissed for 226 looking for quick runs having shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 193 with Ollie Pope, who made his maiden Test half-century before falling to Neil Wagner (5-124) for 75, as the tourists were bowled out for 476 just before tea with a first-innings lead of 101 secured.
Root’s double century was his third of his Test career, his first as skipper and also the first by a visiting captain in New Zealand but more importantly it kept England’s hopes of levelling the series alive.
Those hopes were raised when New Zealand lost both openers early in their second innings but a partnership of 68 between Kane Williamson (37no) and Ross Taylor (31no) took the hosts to 96-2 at stumps, trailing by only five, and while England might have other ideas, a draw is the most likely result heading into day five.
Moment of the Day
Having scored 199 runs, you would think that another one would not be too tricky. Well, think again! Root had been in supreme form, giving New Zealand barely a sniff as he went about turning his century into a double at Seddon Park. He got to within one of the milestone and then decided he was in a rush to reach it, dropping the ball into the offside and setting off for a single that really was not there.
Pope hesitated before realising he had no choice but to go or risk running his captain out for 199, he put in a dive but, frankly, it would have done him no good had the throw found its mark. Fortunately for Pope, it was off target and Root – after a quick apology to his batting partner – was able to celebrate his double ton. A memorable day for the England skipper, who was very much back to his best in Hamilton.
Earlier in the day, there was another landmark moment as Pope completed his fifty in Test cricket. Given how he batted here, it will not be the last.
Stat of the Day
Only three Englishman have more Test double-centuries than Joe Root: Wally Hammond (7), Alastair Cook (5), and Len Hutton (4). #NZvENG
Quite simply, why on earth did Jeet Raval not call for a review? The New Zealand opener has been struggling for runs in the series and was given out lbw second ball after being rapped on the pad by Sam Curran. The left-hander then tucked his bat under his arm and headed off the field, it looked pretty adjacent so why waste a review?
So far, so straightforward. The bizarre part is that HotSpot showed what appeared to show he had hit it. Not just a little tickle either, a thick inside edge. Was Raval so short of confidence or his mind so clouded that he could not be sure that he had hit it? Surely, he would have felt it?
Apparently not, now he just has hope that this strange incident does not cost his side. England will be pushing hard for victory but time is against them.
Tweets of the Day
226 runs. Joe Root. Seddon Park. pic.twitter.com/d9olaSuSRO
186* – @EnglandCricket's Joe Root has eclipsed his previous best Test score away from home of 182* which he had set against the West Indies at St George's in April 2015. Reverberate.#NZvENG pic.twitter.com/vEIMtF9LJK
No Englishman in Test history has as many runs *and* a higher average than Joe Root. #NZvENG
Joe Root doubters right now pic.twitter.com/bAEuqMYbQP
What they said
England captain Joe Root on chances of victory: “I thought [the ball] might do a little bit more in terms of up and down but it hasn’t seemed to. But we have a couple of wickets and you never know in the morning. The frustrating thing is the forecast isn’t great, hence why we sped things up at the back-end of our innings. We have given ourselves a chance and if we can get a cluster of wickets in the morning you never know.”
Root on his partnership with Pope: “Those few hours were crucial. We knew we needed to lay some of platform to then have the option of dictating terms later on. It was a great partnership and I thought Ollie played extremely well. It was not his natural game, he had to go about things in a different way as it was not a wicket that allowed free scoring. He showed lots of maturity.”
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