Joe Root scored his SIXTh century at Lord’s to help steer England to a brilliant five wicket victory against World Test Champions New Zealand in the opening Test Match of the 2022 international season.
In a match which swung one way and then another, it was a nerveless century from Root that proved to be the difference in England’s first game under new Head Coach Brendon McCullum.
The 31-year-old came to the crease with his side in trouble at 46 for 3, but an initial partnership with captain Ben Stokes left Root on 77 not out overnight and his team still needing 61 more runs to chase down what at times seemed like an unlikely victory.
However, any thoughts of nerves were swiftly dismissed early on the fourth day as along with new batter Ben Foakes, the scoreboard ticked ever closer to the target of 277.
Root was looking his sublime best despite the grey overhead skies, driving beautifully off the front foot and cutting strongly.
The century, his fifth in Tests at Lord's, came 54 minutes into the morning session and coincided with another milestone as he became only the second English batter to reach 10,000 Test Match runs. The celebrations were muted, however, with a victory in sight.
Fortunately, he didn’t have long to wait as fittingly it was Root who hit the running runs to steer England to a five-wicket victory, finishing on 115 not out in the process.