Joe Root Double Century Gives England A Glimmer Of Hope Against Black Caps

The captain recorded his highest Test score away from home
10:49, 02 Dec 2019

Joe Root hit a stunning double century to give England a slight hope of victory against New Zealand on day four of the second Test in Hamilton.

Captain Root scored 226 from 441 balls to register his highest Test score away from home.

England made 400 in the first innings for the first time since Sir Alastair Cook’s double century against Australia in Melbourne back in 2017.

Ollie Pope recorded 75 to guide England to 476 and a first-innings lead of 101.

However, the tourists’ chances of recording a famous victory and thus drawing the Test series with New Zealand could be dashed by weather, with heavy rain forecast in Hamilton for much of the final day.

Root is now the 10th-highest Test run-scorer for England and is the first visiting skipper ever to make a double century in New Zealand.

"I have been close for a long time in terms of a real big score,” he told BBC Test Match Special. “I have never felt like it has been far away.

"Once I got in I had the bit between my teeth and wanted to make a big one. We have got ourselves in a position where we can still win."

Root had been struggling for form and looked out of sorts but insisted he was never worried.

There were question marks over whether the captaincy was affecting his batting, with his average standing at 27.4 in his previous 10 Tests, but he proved the doubters wrong on Sunday and Monday.

"I've felt like my game has been pretty much there, you just sometimes need a bit behind you and a few extra runs,” he added.

"It's the business we're in, unfortunately, sometimes you can be playing as well as you want but you need the scores; it's what wins you games."

Root's 200, off 412 balls, was the slowest for England since Dennis Amiss’ double century 45 years ago against West Indies. Only three Englishmen, Wally Hammond, Cook and Len Hutton, have more Test doubles than Root.

The 28-year-old was in the middle for 10 hours as he fired a third Test double century.

England and Middlesex bowler Steven Finn was impressed by the display, saying: "Even from the beginning of Root's innings, you could see he meant business.

"It will give him great satisfaction. It is one of the best feelings in cricket when you have worked so hard and come out of the other side of it."

New Zealand finished day four on 96 for 2 in their second innings, trailing England by five runs.

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