Joe Root finally hits his first 100 in 9 months and 17th test ton to put England back in the game in the 2nd test vs New Zealand. Both the captain and opener Rory Burns played solid old fashioned test cricket with a 177 run stand , grinding it out in the middle and waiting for loose deliveries as England fought hard to stay in the match on rain curtailed 3rd day. Burns timed his strokes beautifully and scored his 2nd test ton but was runout soon after reaching 101, thus missing out on a real big one. However it had to be Root’s day after his stocks have taken a beating in last nine months with his captaincy and his own batting form in question . For past 9 months he continued to struggle to come up with a match defining contribution in test cricket unlike his other 3 illustrious contemporaries of the fab four , Kohli, Smith and Williamson. His average took a downward slide to the current 47. Therefore today ,with England struggling, Root needed to come up with something special to silence his detractors and protect his reputation. He played the old fashioned test cricket and took 278 balls to reach 114 notout before rains halted the 3rd days play. It was not the typically attractive Joe Root but a more resolute Joe Root that was in display.
After Burns dismissal, the Blackcaps picked up Stokes (26) and debutant Crawley(1) cheaply to put the game in balance at 269/5. Root had a satisfying day staying unbeaten but his job is far from over as England look to win to square the series.