Joe Root slams a superb ton on captaincy debut to take England to a commanding 387-5 on Day One of the first Test against South Africa at Lord’s. This was Root’s 12th ton in Tests.
Root came into bat at No. 4, after Vernon Philander had removed England openers Alastair Cook for 3 and Keaton Jennings for 8. England had lost further two more wickets in the form of Gary Ballance (20) and Jonny Bairstow (10) and went into lunch in a spot of bother at 82-4.
Root and Ben Stokes resumed post lunch and turned the match in England’s favour. The played sensibly and did not let the South African bowlers get on top. However, Root had a couple of early escapes in his innings before lunch, when he was dropped on a couple of occasions, but then cashed in on it to score a big hundred. Root put on 114 for the fifth wicket with Stokes and India reached a respectable position.
However, England lost Stokes moments after tea for 56 off 108. Root was then joined by Moeen Ali. Another wicket at that juncture would have once again put South Africa in the driver’s seat. But Root and Moeen fought on and kept the South African bowlers at bay. Root got to his century off 150 deliveries in the first half hour post tea.
Moeen too like he has many times in the past, played a supporting role. The runs were coming at a slow pace for a while after that, but the England batsmen kept keeping the ball away. Root had yet another life when he was stumped off Keshav Maharaj when he was on 149. Luck was clearly on Root’s side and he ended the day unbeaten on 184 off 227 deliveries and left the field with thunderous applause from all over the ground.
Moeen too played a magnificent hand and remained unbeaten on 61 off 105. Moeen and Root’s stand is on 167 and they will look to consolidate further when play resumes on Day 2. Philander was by a long stretch South Africa’s best bowlers, finishing the day with figures of 3-46. Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada finished with a wicket apiece.
South Africa will have to come out all guns blazing and look to bowl England out for under 450. That surely has to be their initial target. Root will be key for England. He is on the cusp his third double hundred and his second one at Lord’s.
Earlier, England had won the toss and elected to bat first. Bot Root and Dean Elgar were making their captaincy debuts in this match. South Africa handed out a Test debut to Heino Kuhn, who is most likely to open the batting with Elgar. Also Theunis de Bruyn was preferred in this match ahead of Chris Morris.
England: 357-5 (Joe Root 184*, Moeen Ali 61*; Vernon Philander 3-46, Morne Morkel 1-64) vs South Africa.