England v Pakistan: Alastair Cook & Joe Root hit centuries in second Test

By Bibhash DashBBC Sport
Second Test, Old Trafford, day one:
England 314-4: Root 141*, Cook 105
Pakistan: Yet to bat

Alastair Cook and Joe Root hit centuries as England laid down a strong platform on day one of the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford.

Cook's 105 was his 29th Test hundred, putting him level with Sir Donald Bradman, and helped his side to 314-4.

Root, who put on 185 with Cook for the second wicket, was unbeaten on 141 at stumps, his 10th Test century.

Mohammad Amir took 2-63, including bowling Cook, but Pakistan - 1-0 up in the series - toiled on a flat pitch.

England's batting was much improved from their 75-run defeat in the opening Test, when they were dismissed for 272 and 207.

Much of the pre-match talk surrounded their struggles against Yasir Shah, who took 10 wickets at Lord's, but Cook and Root scored 39 and 45 respectively against him.

On a pitch expected to provide assistance to the spinners, Yasir conceded 111 runs in 31 overs.

James Vince was dropped by Younus Khan at slip before being caught behind for 18 off Rahat Ali, while Gary Ballance combined for 78 with Root before falling for 23.

Cook's 'polite' aggression

Alex Hales' departure in the seventh over - bowled for 10 by an Amir inswinger - meant England's captain and new number three had to negotiate the recovery.

Cook once again showed his ability to accumulate, while well-timed pushes, described as "polite" by former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja, regularly found their way to the boundary.

Root briefly overtook his partner and was first to the half-century, but Cook was soon back in front and raising his bat to a standing ovation.

The century partnership was near chanceless, barring an edge from Cook off Yasir that flew just wide of slip, though the left-hander would eventually be bowled off an inside edge by another swinging Amir delivery on the stroke of tea.

Root converts

Joe Root's wagon wheel
Root's calm approach brought him 18 fours, and 45 of his runs came off Yasir Shah

Root's most recent Test hundred came 10 innings ago, against South Africa in January and, while his place has not been under pressure, the move to number three after the Sri Lanka series has been under scrutiny.

He made 48 and nine at Lord's, though it was the manner of his dismissals - slog-sweeping and on the pull - that had prompted further scrutiny.

At Old Trafford, he exuded calmness in defence and attack, with his first slog-sweep coming when he was on 66. He has batted for six hours and struck 18 fours.

The only time Root looked nervous was when Amir narrowly beat his outside edge twice in the same over, while his celebration on reaching three figures had more than a hint of past exasperations being put to rest.

Root said: "There was some frustration from before of not getting a big score. It was nice to do so. We played a lot straighter."

On shaky ground

Hales and Vince were out cheaply on what was described as a "belter" of a pitch by former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special.

Hales was superbly set up by Amir, who first beat him with an inswinger then bowled him with the same delivery, the right-hander's footwork letting him down on both occasions.

Later, with Root in the 90s, Vince was caught behind trying to drive from wide of off stump, soon after he had been put down by Younus Khan at second slip playing a similar shot.

Cook pleased with 'calmer play'

England captain Alastair Cook on Test Match Special: "The way we played was much calmer. We've set the game up.

"I've been in good nick all through the summer, with Essex as well. I've not quite got a good score for England this year. I know this is not a massive score but it's nice to get a hundred.

"We're happy at the moment playing four seamers and a spinner. Just because we had one bad performance, I don't think you should change everything.

"We are a comfortable side playing that system, and I didn't think we should change it."

England batsman Joe Root: "The way he played was a really mature innings, which is what you expect from your captain.

"We've bounced back as a batting unit in this Test match. The way we responded is really good leading into the rest of the game."

The stats you need to know

  • Cook and Root's 185-run stand was England's highest second-wicket partnership in Tests at Old Trafford, beating Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick's 137 against Australia in 2005
  • Cook became the fourth player to captain England in 50 Tests - Michael Atherton did it 54 times, Vaughan 51 and Andrew Strauss 50
  • This is the first time in 24 Tests that two of England's top five have made centuries in the same game
  • The last time both England openers were bowled by the same bowler was at The Oval in 2001, when Australia's Shane Warne dismissed Trescothick and Atherton