CRICKET

Joe Root’s double hundred puts England in control but rain set to save New Zealand

Captain Joe Root scored a terrific double hundred as England took control on day four of the second test against New Zealand, but rain may prevent them pushing for a win.

Root resumed the day on 115 and quickly got back into his stride, supported by Ollie Pope as the Surrey youngster scored his first half century for England.

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The tourists were eventually all out for 476, with New Zealand ending the day 96-2, five runs behind.

The favourites to win the match may be England, but a draw seems most likely with rain set to hit Hamilton at lunchtime on Tuesday.

Joe Root celebrates reaching his double century, his third for England

Root and Pope walked out with the visitors still 106 runs behind as they chased victory to level the series, and the pair set about blunting the Kiwi attack, who were without star bowler Trent Boult.

In just his fourth test, stand-in wicket-keeper Pope initially struggled to score, but found his fluency to join Root in regularly increasing his country’s tally, adding 75 of the pair’s 193 partnership.

As he was closing in on a century, Pope skied a Neil Wagner bouncer to Jeet Raval and skipper Root followed him back to the dressing room just four balls later, having scored 226, his second highest test score.

England led by 101 after their innings and took two wickets before the close, with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes removing a New Zealand opener each.

Root was delighted with his team’s performance and optimistic for day five despite the weather forecast, which suggests it could be a washout.

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He told Test Match Special: “I have been close for a long time in terms of a real big score. I have never felt like it has been far away.

“It would have been nice to sneak a couple more wickets towards the back end but we have got ourselves in a position where we can still win this game.”

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