England v New Zealand: Joe Root hits maiden Test hundred
Second Test, Headingley (day two, close):
England 337-7 v New Zealand
Joe Root thrilled his home crowd with his maiden Test century to put England in a solid position against New Zealand at Headingley.
The 22-year-old, playing only his sixth Test, put on 124 for the fifth wicket with his Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow.
Root became the first Yorkshireman to score his maiden Test century at Headingley and the 11th youngest England centurion of all time before falling to the first delivery with the new ball for 104.
Bairstow soon followed after a fluent 64 and Stuart Broad made a duck as England threatened to undo much of their good work before Matt Prior's quick-fire unbeaten 38 took them to 337-7 at the close on day two.
Test Match Special analysis
"Joe Root's played beautifully, but ever since he was about 15, we at Yorkshire felt we had a good player here and that he had what it takes to be pretty special. He has good touch, good footwork, plays the ball late, and it always helps to play at your home ground as you're used to the pace."
The hosts, who lead the two-match series 1-0 following a 170-win in the opening Test at Lord's, will be looking to push on towards 400 on Sunday before picking apart the Kiwis' fragile batting line-up.
England had lunched on 67-3, with Jonathan Trott and captain Alastair Cook falling in successive balls before the interval after Nick Compton had gone early for just one.
Ian Bell added 30 in a partnership of 79 with Root, but it was the combination of the young Yorkshire pair that really transformed the mood among the colourful Headingley crowd.
Scoring heavily square of the wicket on both sides, Root reached his fifty off 90 balls and accelerated into the nineties after tea.
Then came two heart-stopping moments.
On 92, a Bairstow drive deflected off bowler Neil Wagner and on to the stumps at the non-striker's end, but fortunately Root had not strayed far from his crease and grounded his bat in time.
Shortly afterwards, he survived an appeal for a catch down the leg side, with New Zealand using up a review to establish that the ball merely brushed Root's pads.
To his credit, Root retained his composure and advanced from 94 to his hundred in the space of two balls, punching the air in celebration as the crowd rose to its feet to toast the local hero.
New Zealand needed a spark and they found one in Trent Boult with the new ball in his hands.
Joe Root's first-class scores this season
- 49 & 182 - Yorkshire v Durham, Championship, Headingley
- 236 - Yorkshire v Derbyshire, Championship, Headingley
- 179 - England Lions v New Zealand, tour match, Leicester
- 40 & 71 - England v New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's
- 104 - England v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Headingley
Root, perhaps switching off momentarily after reaching three figures, chased a length ball and nicked to the keeper.
Bairstow, who struck eight fours in an innings which mixed timing and power, mis-judged an attempted leave and toe-ended a catch behind.
A Broad inside edge from the first ball of Boult's next over gave McCullum - keeping wicket in the absence of the injured BJ Watling - his fifth catch.
The momentum almost shifted further in New Zealand's favour, but Doug Bracewell put down a tough chance at midwicket to remove Prior for 21 and the England wicketkeeper, in tandem with Graeme Swann, ensured the hosts finished the day in the ascendency.
After rain washed out Friday's first day, Headingley was bathed in sunshine on Saturday morning as cricket fans - many in fancy dress - streamed in through the gates.
England won the toss and chose to bat but were swiftly one down as Compton followed an away-swinger from Tim Southee and was caught by the agile Dean Brownlie at third slip.
After back to back centuries in New Zealand, Compton has scored 45 runs in his last five Test innings.
Cook and Trott looked to be bedding in for a long partnership only for England's steady progress towards lunch to be checked by a double-strike.
Trott drove expansively at a tempting ball outside off stump from Wagner and was caught behind and, from the first ball of the next over, Cook's lack of footwork proved his undoing as he nicked to third slip.
Bell successfully reviewed an lbw appeal on 12 but succumbed meekly for 30 when he feathered part-time spinner Kane Williamson through to the keeper.
At 146-4, England needed a partnership of substance, which Root and Bairstow duly delivered to the delight of their adoring public.
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27th May 2013 - 7:25
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