Root rescues England after openers collapse

Joe Root produced a superb century to keep the first test alive in Cardiff. England had found themselves at 43-3, but the partnership of Root and Gary Ballance revived English hopes. Josh Hazlewood stood out from the Australian bowlers, with figures of 3-70 from his 22 overs. The hosts will resume tomorrow on 343-7.

England won the toss and elected to bat in cloudy conditions. Adam Lyth was the first to fall, caught at slip by David Warner for 6 off the bowling of Hazlewood. Spinner Nathan Lyon was introduced in the tenth over, and this move was rewarded as Alastair Cook edged behind for 20. The day looked in danger of becoming embarrassing for England, as Ian Bell was trapped lbw for 1. Starc’s bowling almost was the downfall of Root as well, first with a muted lbw claim, and more noticeably when the Yorkshire man edged behind, only to be dropped by a diving Brad Haddin.

From this initial trouble, Root and Ballance began piling on the runs, with Root bringing up his 50 in 56 balls. Ballance finally fell lbw to Hazlewood for 63, with the fourth wicket partnership worth 153. Root brought up his century with a square drive for 4, off of just 118 balls. Mitchell Starc was the man to eventually dismiss Root, who edged to Shane Watson for 134. Ben Stokes reached his 50, but was bowled by Starc almost immediately, with England now 293-6. Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali took England past 300, with their 50 partnership coming in just 51 balls. Jos Buttler chipped straight to Mitchell Johnson at mid-on for 27, Hazlewood’s third wicket of the day.

Mitchell Starc shared the honours with Hazlewood, also taking three wickets. Mitchell Johnson had no such luck, with his 20 overs producing figures of 0-87. England will look to push past 400 tomorrow, maybe batting through to the afternoon before getting some early wickets before close of play. This is a situation which looked very unlikely for the hosts to be in at points today, so they must capitalise on this life-line.

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