ENG vs NZ: Stokes, Root revive England on 1st day of 1st test vs NZLondon: England was back on even terms with New Zealand on the first day of the first cricket test when it went to tea on 219-5 at Lord's on Thursday.Ben Stokes and Joe Root, who
London: England was back on even terms with New Zealand on the first day of the first cricket test when it went to tea on 219-5 at Lord's on Thursday.
Ben Stokes and Joe Root, who came together at 30-4 after the first hour, combined for 161, a comeback as stunning as New Zealand's opening salvo.
Root was still going on 80, with Jos Buttler on 13.
Stokes' was the only wicket to fall in the session, and the end of his entertaining partnership with Root, which motored at more than five runs per over, came as a surprise.
The New Zealand-born Stokes slogged 15 boundaries and a six in reaching 92, and if he was going to get out, it was likely going to be caught on the midwicket boundary.
Instead, he stepped back from a delivery by offspinner Mark Craig, let it through, and watched it knock over the top of his off stump.
It was uncharacteristic of his innings, but understandable considering this was the closest he'd been to a century in 17 months, since his maiden ton in the Ashes test at Perth in December 2013.
Stokes and Root zoomed England to 113-4 by lunch, and were a tad more leisurely afterward, though still pyrotechnic by test standards.
Root was first to his 50 off 53 balls, including eight fours, most of them behind square. He punished anything short, or went on the back foot to give himself more time.
Stokes reached his half-century off 55 balls with his ninth boundary.
After he blasted fast bowlers Matt Henry and Trent Boult for 25 in two consecutive overs, drinks were taken, and the New Zealanders huddled around captain Brendon McCullum. His speech didn't need to be heard. The Kiwis needed a wicket, or at least contain Stokes and Root, as they were tearing up their quality attack.
The pep talk worked. The return of Craig turned England's tap off. Then he dismissed Stokes, who deserved his ovation for 92 off 94 balls.
New Zealand ruled the first hour by reducing England to 30-4. Henry took two wickets on debut, as Adam Lyth (7), Alastair Cook (16), Gary Ballance (1) and Ian Bell (1) fell to brilliant bowling.