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Manchester, England: Joe Root and captain Alastair Cook hit comfortable centuries as England reached 314-4 at stumps on Friday to take an early advantage in the second test against Pakistan.
Root made up for reckless dismissals in England's first test defeat at Lord's last week to remain unbeaten on 141 with 18 fours at the end of the first day, and Cook read the wicket well to make 105.
Cook, leading England for the 50th test, and Root contributed 185 runs for the second wicket before the England captain was bowled by Mohammad Amir (2-63) in a rare delivery which kept low.
The newly top-ranked test leg-spinner Yasir Shah had a day to forget, remaining wicketless after bowling 31 overs while conceding 111 runs.
Shah had played a pivotal role in Pakistan's 75-run victory in the first test by claiming a 10-wicket match haul and is also the quickest test bowler to reach 86 wickets in 13 test matches.
Amir's pace with the new ball had England in early trouble when the left-armer bowled Alex Hales (10) with a delivery which nipped back into the right-hander.
But Root and Cook saw off the new ball, batted resolutely on a true batting wicket, negated the spin threat of Shah and carried England to 95-1 by lunch.
Root cut the slog sweeps which resulted in gifting his wickets at Lord's and only once swept Shah to the mid-wicket boundary after he completed his half century off 86 balls.
Shah couldn't get enough turn despite bowling a long spell after lunch as Cook reached his half century with a straight driven boundary — out of 14 in all — off the leg-spinner. The England captain reached his 29th test century in 131 test matche when he drove Amir to mid-wicket for two runs.
Amir provided Pakistan some hope at the stroke of tea when he dismissed Cook and came close to claiming James Vince (18) soon after the break but Younis Khan grassed a regulation catch at second slip.
The miss didn't cost much as left-arm seamer Rahat Ali (2-69) found the thick outside edge of Vince's bat before Gary Ballance (23) added a further 73 runs with Root.
But Root continued to dominate Pakistan's bowlers with exquisite drives on both sides of the wicket and reached his maiden test hundred against Pakistan — and 10th overall — by driving Shah through the mid-wicket boundary.
Rahat had Ballance clean bowled with the second new ball before Chris Woakes and Root carried England to 314.
England has spiced up its bowling attack with the return of fast bowler James Anderson and all-rounder Ben Stokes after both missed the first test due to injuries and replaced Steven Finn and Jake Ball.
First Published On : Jul 23, 2016 15:42 IST