Root, Burns hit tons to take England to striking distance of New Zealand total


HAMILTON: Joe Root ended a poor run of form when he scored his 17th Test century and led England to 269-5 before rain ended play early on the third day of the second Test against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday. Rory Burns (101) also scored his second Test century and combined with his captain in a 177-run third wicket partnership that resurrected England’s first innings. Root, who had not scored a test century since early February and was averaging just 27.10 this year prior to his current innings, was on 114 at stumps with Ollie Pope on four and England within striking distance of New Zealand’s 375. Rain had forced the players off the field at about 5.30 p.m. (0430 GMT) and umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Paul Wilson decided to abandon play 15 minutes later. The final two days of the match are also expected to be affected by rain, increasing the chances that New Zealand will win their fifth successive test series at home in the last two years after they won the first game by an innings and 65 runs. “I think the game is reasonably even,” New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee told the BBC. “The ball is still reasonably hard. “Hopefully we can turn up tomorrow, grab some assistance early and knock a couple over … especially Root – then who knows?”

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