Root century steers England to victory over New Zealand at Lord's

Joe Root’s century steers England to victory target of 277 in first Test against New Zealand with former skipper surpassing 10,000 runs to get Ben Stokes era off to the perfect start

  • England beat New Zealand by five wickets to get new era off to ideal start
  • Joe Root hit his 26th Test century and surpassed 10,000 runs in the process
  • Former skipper and Ben Foakes guided England home to target of 277 at Lord’s
  • New Zealand needed five wicket entering fourth day under gloomy skies
  • But Root and Foakes were nerveless to win the game in just over an hour
  • It is a major boost at start of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum era  

Joe Root and Ben Foakes guided England to their victory target of 277 against New Zealand as the team’s new Test era got off to the perfect start at Lord’s. 

Despite grey and damp conditions on the fourth morning, former captain Root and wicketkeeper Foakes knocked off the remaining 61 runs needed to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. 

Root completed a 26th Test century, reaching 10,000 Test runs in the process, to continue a rich vein of form that has lasted 18 months now. 

Joe Root completed a century – and surpassed 10,000 Test runs – as England reached their victory target of 277 to take the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s 

Former captain Root and Ben Foakes steered England to victory on the fourth morning 

The Lord’s crowd and New Zealand players alike rise to applaud Root’s 26th Test century

He reached the 10,000 milestone – becoming the 14th batsman to do so – at exactly the same age to the day as Sir Alastair Cook, the only other Englishman in the club.

New Zealand required five wickets to claim victory at the start of play but the ball stubbornly remained straight and refused to swing despite heavy overhead conditions which required the Lord’s floodlights to be switched on.

It allowed England’s sixth-wicket partnership to knock off the required runs in just over an hour of play in a major boost for new captain Ben Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum as the team embarks on a new chapter. 

Foakes made an unbeaten 32 with the stand ultimately worth 120 and a whole lot more for England in general. 

With the second new ball looming and skies threatening, Root was in no mood to hang about

The England balcony rise to applaud Root after he completed another century on day four

It was all smiles from Foakes and Root as they completed the job in a little over an hour

It ended a torrid run of form for England, who hadn’t won a Test match since they beat India at Headingley last August and had won just one of their last 17. 

It promised to be a potentially fraught chase for England and the small crowd that gathered at Lord’s not knowing whether play would begin on time amid threatening skies.

New Zealand were desperate to get through to the new ball but Root and Foakes were in a mood to get the job done as quickly as possible. 

Completing the job within 15 overs, they also ensured all Lord’s ticket-holders received a full refund, which went down well. 

The conditions and the lack of decent batting in the tail cranked up the pressure on Root and Foakes to get England over the line when just one wicket could easily have tipped the odds in New Zealand’s favour.

The Jubilee weekend crowd at Lord’s salute Root as he reached his 26th England ton 

Foakes had successfully shut out a buoyant Kiwi attack late on Saturday, soaking up 48 balls for nine runs, but he was far more expansive with the finish line in sight.

He twice struck the dangerous Kyle Jamieson to the boundary in the space of three deliveries. Once the target had dropped below 30, Foakes pivoted on his heels and pulled Tim Southee away for four more.

Root drilled Jamieson back down the ground to move into the 90s but there was a slice of good fortune when an under edge missed his stumps and Tom Blundell’s dive en route to the ropes.

Root sees a shot just evade a New Zealand fielder as he motored on towards the finish line

Foakes hung back so Root could receive a standing ovation as England claimed victory

In perfect symmetry, Root started the 77th over on 98 runs in the innings and 9,998 overall. Both milestones were reached when he scored a couple to midwicket off Southee.

Root’s 26th Test century equals the haul of West Indian great Sir Garfield Sobers and he took in the acclaim both of the New Zealand team and the Jubilee weekend Lord’s crowd.

Fittingly, it was Root who finished the job, taking Southee for three boundaries in an over.

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