By Rob Barnett at Lord’s
Joe Root expressed his satisfaction at his maiden Ashes hundred, but explained he will enjoy it much more if England go on to win the second Investec Test.
Root’s 178 not out has put his country in an excellent position to achieve victory at Lord’s, where they lead Australia by a gargantuan 566 runs after three days.
At 333 for five, Alastair Cook must therefore decide if and when to declare as he pursues a 2-0 lead in the five-games series.
Root, however, was content to reflect on his second England century and first as an international opening batsman, having been promoted to the top of the order ahead of this series.
“It was great. I really enjoyed it, as you can imagine,” said the 22-year-old Yorkshireman.
“The best thing is we’re in a good position to go on and set ourselves up for a win. If we can continue to play well as we have done in this game, hopefully that will happen.
“We’ve got to make sure we hammer the game home and get a result from it. I’ll definitely enjoy it more if we get a win out of it.”
Root’s other England ton was 104 against New Zealand at his home ground in May, made from the middle order.
Asked to rate the two, he replied: “Headingley was quite special, but to do it at Lord’s versus Australia is obviously very enjoyable.
Root shared stands of 99 with nightwatchman Tim Bresnan and 153 alongside Ian Bell, who followed up his first-innings century with 74.
“It was very important to get two good partnerships together; Bresi batted very well this morning and after lunch. Belly played like he has done all series,” he continued.
“When you get two partnerships like that it’s exceptionally hard for the fielding side.”
Australia paceman Peter Siddle could not add to his three cheap wickets that left England 31 for three yesterday, but was content with the tourists’ display.
They kept the hosts to a combined 140 runs in the first two sessions, but could not stop Root and Bell from accelerating as the last period yielded 162.
“The first two sessions especially, I think we did everything alright,” Siddle said.
“A lot of credit goes to them; they batted well. The run-rate wasn’t very high for those first two sessions so we did our job, but we would have liked to get more wickets along the way.
“They stood their ground, they batted well, they batted time, patient, and put it back on us. That’s always what happens in Test cricket, that last session can be a little bit costly.
“Today, with us not getting many wickets throughout the day, we obviously did leak a few at the end.”
Root was not only sledged by Siddle and Co, but apparently also by his younger brother Billy, who was performing 12th man duties.
“He’s been abusing me all day bringing drinks out,” joked Root senior, who believes his parents will be proud.
“I’m sure they have enjoyed the day as well. Hopefully there will be many more for them to enjoy going forward.”
The significance of an Ashes hundred is not lost on today’s star, who recalls viewing England-Australia contests as he grew up.
“I always enjoyed watching the Ashes,” he added. “That’s what you want to play in. It’s the pinnacle for an Englishman. To get the opportunity to do that is brilliant.”
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