Root, Cook make centuries in England's 1st day-night test
Aug. 17, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Joe Root and Alastair Cook marked England's first foray into day-night test cricket with centuries, leading the home team to 348-3 against the West Indies on Day 1 of the series-opener on Thursday.
The captain and former captain eased England's concerns over how they would deal with the challenge of batting against the pink ball with a 248-run partnership for the third wicket.
Root made 136 and Cook was not out on 153 at stumps, which were called just after 9.30 p.m. at a flood-lit Edgbaston.
Their stand overcame some trying early times in the first day-night test in England, and first involving England, which was 39-2 in the eighth over when the pair came together.
But helped by some wayward bowling by the West Indian attack, Root and Cook negotiated the pink ball with ease. Root hit 22 fours, collecting 88 of his runs in boundaries. Cook was equally adept at dispatching the regular flow of bad balls to the boundary with 92 of his runs coming from 23 fours.
On his way to his 13th test century, Root also became only the sixth man to score a half-century in 11 consecutive tests. AB de Villiers holds the outright record with half-centuries in 12 straight tests.
A sweep for four off a leg-side delivery from spinner Roston Chase took Root past 100 and saw him start his second series as captain as he did his first series — with a hundred. He clenched his right fist and gave a low punch of delight.
Cook's century was his 31st, his first since losing the captaincy to Root, and first since November last year. It moved him up to 11th on the all-time list of most test centuries, now ahead of Matthew Hayden and Shivnarine Chanderpaul and one behind Steve Waugh. It was also Cook's 10th score of 150 or more, equaling an England record.
The current and former skipper embraced when Root got his century, and Root then celebrated for his teammate, arms waving in the air, as he ran through for the single that took Cook to three figures.
England faced a testing few overs when the game got underway in the afternoon, with opener Mark Stoneman — Cook's 12th opening partner since Andrew Strauss' retirement in 2012 — out for 8 on his debut. No. 3 Tom Westley was also dismissed for 8 in his third test.
Stoneman was bowled by Kemar Roach (2-72) in the third over with a super delivery that seamed away to smash into Stoneman's off stump. Westley was lbw to Miguel Cummins after a successful decision review by West Indies.
Although England still has problems to solve in its top order — finding another effective opener and a solid No. 3, with the newcomers not cutting it yet — there are no doubts over the lasting value of Cook and Root.
By the lunch break, which came at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, they had taken England to 108-2 and the recovery was well on its way. By tea, or rather supper time, England was 215-2.
Root fell in the tricky period when the daylight was fading and the floodlights taking over, bowled by Roach with a delivery that cut in and went between bat and pad. But England didn't lose anyone else in the dreaded twilight zone, with Dawid Malan 28 not out with Cook at the close.
West Indies has more day-night test experience than England having played one against Pakistan in Dubai last year. But Roach sent the second ball of this test so wide of the stumps that it went to second slip, and that set the tone for the West Indian bowling performance rather than his good deliveries to beat Stoneman and Root.
Day-night tests are an attempt to revitalize cricket's five-day format and give fans who hold down weekday jobs a chance to see at least some of the action live. The match at Edgbaston is the fifth day-night test to be played, with the first in Australia in November 2015.