Day 2 Report: England pile on the runs with Root’s double century
by Andy Jalil

Scorecard:England v Sri Lanka
Event:Sri Lanka in Ireland and England 2014

DateLine: 13th June 2014


By Andy Jalil In association with INVESTEC


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil in London
In association with INVESTEC,
© Andy Jalil


London – Resolute batting for the second consecutive day by Joe Root took him to the first double century of his fledgling 15-Test career and England to a comfortable position on a second scorching day of the first Test. Following his innings of 102 not out on the previous day, Root once again put on an impressive display, batting with the middle and lower order, and showing the determination with which he had lifted his side after the early loss of wickets on the first morning.


Facing a daunting first innings total, Sri Lanka batted a little over one session to stumps to reach 140 for one and trailing by 435 runs and needing 236 more to avoid the follow-on. They began the innings well on a fine batting wicket and in the presence of another capacity crowd putting on 54 for the first wicket. But in the thirteenth over, Dimuth Karunaratne, having scored 38 at the rate of a run-a-ball, was held behind giving a jubilant debutant Chris Jordan a wicket in his first over in Test cricket.


The tourists have a major batting task ahead on the third day for which they will need the unquestionable batting prowess of their premier batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to come in next. Kaushal Silva, on an unbeaten 62, has put on a battling unbroken stand of 86 with Sangakkara, on 32 not out. Resuming on the overnight score of 344 for five, Root and Matt Prior made a cautious start which later in the innings turned into quite a run-spree as they headed towards a massive total. With Root already with a hundred to his name, Prior, not too far away from three figures, on 76, was careful not to play any risky strokes. But having added just ten to his overnight score from 28 balls, he was held at forward short leg in fending off a bouncer from Shaminda Eranga.


Thereafter the quick scoring came into play with Chris Jordan hitting 19 from as many balls before another short ball from Eranga claimed his wicket. In turning the ball to leg he spliced it to the wicketkeeper. England by then had taken the total just past 400 after the first hour’s play. The run rate shot up straight after Stuart Broad’s arrival at the crease. His first 22 runs came off 13 balls and the fifty of his partnership with Root came from just 33 balls of which Broad had 41 off only 24 balls.


He hit Nuwan Pradeep for three fours in an over, all lovely shots, first to cover, then a perfect straight drive followed by a cut to backward point. In Pradeep’s next over he took two more fours, both at point to reach 41. In going for another big hit, in the penultimate over before lunch, he was held just inside the mid-wicket boundary on 47 from 38 balls and all but 11 of his runs had come from boundaries. The eighth wicket stand was worth 64 and Root by then had moved on to 147.


Liam Plunkett, recalled into Test cricket after seven years, joined Root with instructions for quick runs and he obliged with 39 off 42 in a 81-run partnership with Root when Pradeep had him held at deep mid-wicket. They had put on 81 and taken the total to 547 for nine with Root on 181. It remained to see if James Anderson would be able to keep his end up long enough for his partner to reach 200. Root moved on to 188 with a four off Herath which went one-bounce over the mid-wicket boundary and in the next over a glance off Pradeep saw him to 196.


Finally, he swept Herath to run two and become the youngest England player at 23 years and 165 days to score a double hundred at HQ of cricket and the third youngest to do so following Sir Donald Bradman who had achieved the milestone in 1930 and Graeme Smith of South Africa in 2003. England declared immediately on a massive 575, leaving Sri Lanka to begin their reply just under half-an-hour before tea. Pradeep had been the pick of the bowlers to finish with 4 for 123.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)