Cricket

Seven fifties, no hundreds

Joe Root has had plenty on his plate as Test captain over the last five months. He has remained consistent with the bat but continued to fall short of a century – seven times failing to convert a half-century against Australia and New Zealand

lbw b Hazlewood 51 40.6 OUT, he won’t go further than fifty! Full, straight, nips back off the seam, and given by Aleem Dar. Root ponders for an age then decides against the review. Almost a carbon copy of the first innings. Resume those conversion-rate debates. Is that the decisive blow of this Test. Replay shows it was three reds

c Paine b Hazlewood 67 64.5 OUT, length and holding its line, another beauty of a ball and Root is gone! Is that the game…? He was slightly late on it and the pink just scratched the cue end, Australia knew, Aleem Dar knew and Root must have done, too. Hazlewood has picked up this game and smashed it on a rock!

c Lyon b Cummins 61 68.5 OUT, the breakthrough! That’s a shocker from Root. Dropped in short, Root goes for the pull and just offers a top edge to deep square leg who is about two-thirds of the way to the boundary

c M Marsh b Starc 83 80.3 OUT, full and swinging, flicked to leg – and this time he is gone, taken on the dive at square leg! Root’s conversion rate drops again, he hangs his head and thumps the turf! Mitchell Marsh threw himself forward to snaffle the chance, it was an excellent catch to leave Root tantalised in his search for a hundred in Australia… Starc gets the breakthrough and is mobbed by his team-mates. A late intervention to prevent England from fully claiming the day

retired ill 58 Tough to hold this one against Root as he was struck down by illness on the final day of the Ashes. He manfully returned to the crease during the first session and made it to lunch, but did not reappear after the break. He was asleep during the post-series presentations.

c Watling b Boult 51 46.5 OUT, he’s gone. Boult’s done it! That’s nasty bowling. Right after taking a blow, he’s in the firing line of a sharp bouncer, angling into the body, leaving Root no room, to hide or to hook. He’s trying to fend the ball away, but only ends up gloving to the wicketkeeper. That’s the close of play

c Watling b Wagner 54 87.2 OUT, gottim, edged to the keeper! Make that five down… Root fails to convert fifty once again, driving at Wagner and giving NZ a second breakthrough in as many overs! NZ’s defensive tactics have paid off, Root starved and then sent back frustrated

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1142290.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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