Cricket-Root shines before New Zealand collapse in second test

Third Test - Pakistan v England - National Stadium Karachi

By Ian Ransom

(Reuters) -An unbeaten Joe Root century and a bowling masterclass by James Anderson put England in complete control of the second test on Saturday, as New Zealand's hopes of levelling the series plunged with shambolic batting on a rain-hit day two.

New Zealand were 138 for seven when showers fell midway through the last session at Basin Reserve and forced play to be halted for the day, still 297 runs short of England's declared first innings total of 435 for eight.

Though Harry Brook (186) was denied a double-century in a 302-run stand with Root, the former England skipper marched on to an unbeaten 153.

Ben Stokes' declaration paid immediate dividends as Anderson, the world's top-ranked test bowler at the age of 40, scythed through New Zealand's top order with three quick wickets.

Spinner Jack Leach grabbed another three and Stuart Broad one victim, leaving wicketkeeper Tom Blundell (25 not out) and tail-ender captain Tim Southee (23 not out) with an improbable rescue mission.

"I just think it was a brilliant call, personally, from him," Root said of Stokes' declaration. "We might not be sat here with them seven down tonight, so credit to him."

Though New Zealand were thrashed by 267 runs in the series-opener in Mount Maunganui, they have plumbed new depths in the nation's capital, leaving home fans in the sold-out crowds dismayed.

Their bowlers were humiliated by Brook and Root on day one, and their batsmen crumbled meekly on day two.

Five of them fell due to poor shot selection, including Kane Williamson who was caught behind off Anderson for four with a loose shot.

Anderson has now dismissed New Zealand's top batsman nine times.

"It's been disappointing," New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi told reporters.

"Because I think guys are sort of struggling with ... the trust element of things.

"But that's the message that we're going to keep giving them, is to trust their skills."


Opener Tom Latham (35) and number five Henry Nicholls (30) made starts but both fell trying to reverse-sweep Leach.

Number six Daryl Mitchell was out for 13 off Leach's last ball before tea.

Ollie Pope took a brilliant, one-handed catch at silly point to remove the all-rounder but Mitchell was culpable for hitting in the air off the face of the bat.

It was Pope's second one-hander, having taken the first with his left after a sweeping Nicholls top-edged into his own elbow, with the ball pinging over his shoulder to the fielder.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell later spooned a catch straight back to Broad to be out for six.

Only opener Devon Conway (0) and number four Will Young (2) might feel at peace with their dismissals, both beaten by good balls from Anderson that caught thin edges on the way to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

England's batters also threw away wickets on day one but it was of no consequence due to Root and Brook's contributions.

The tourists started the day at 315 for three, with the Yorkshire duo looking to carry on.

Recalled New Zealand paceman Matt Henry ended their epic stand when Brook hit a return catch to the bowler but Stokes kept up the pressure with a quickfire 27 before he was caught slogging Neil Wagner to mid-off.

England lost 3-27 in that phase, with Bracewell trapping both Foakes (0) and Stuart Broad (14) lbw.

Root stayed firm, though, as his batting partners dwindled, thrashing the New Zealand bowlers for 10 fours and three sixes in his 224-ball knock.

He flicked a Henry delivery over backward square for four to get past 150 and trigger Stokes' declaration.

With rain forecast on day three, the weather could yet thwart England's hopes of sweeping New Zealand.

However, a draw will be enough to complete their first series win in the nation since 2008.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Ken Ferris and Muralikumar Anantharaman)