Captain Root digs in to lead England revival

LONDON: New England captain Joe Root rode his luck to lead his country’s revival with a battling unbeaten 79 as the hosts moved on to 182 for four at tea on the opening day of the first test against South Africa at Lord’s on Thursday.
Root, dropped twice, and Ben Stokes (52 not out) shared an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 106 to dig England out of a deep hole after they had stumbled to 82 for four at lunch having won the toss in excellent batting conditions.
Openers Alastair Cook (three) and Keaton Jennings (eight) were soon back in the pavilion with England reeling at 17 for two.
Root strode out to warm applause from a packed crowd at the home of cricket.
But he struggled to find his usual fluency against a disciplined South Africa pace attack and, on 16, he was dropped at gully off Kagiso Rabada shortly after offering a much more difficult chance to fine leg.
Gary Ballance made a scratchy 20 before he was trapped lbw by Morne Morkel and Jonny Bairstow fell lbw to Vernon Philander for 10, the powerful right-arm seamer’s third victim of the morning.
Root and Stokes batted watchfully in the afternoon session, accumulating runs with careful placement.
Stokes did advance down the wicket to lift spinner Keshav Maharaj over long-on for six but the firebrand all-rounder also enjoyed a stroke of luck when he was bowled by a Morkel no-ball.
Root reached 50 off 89 balls and slowly began to find his usual sweet timing as the South African bowlers tired in the warm sunshine.
Stokes also got to his half-century shortly before the interval and the pair will look to extend the partnership in the final session to give England the upper hand on the opening day of the four-test series. — Reuters