Joe Root scored his first Test ton after nine months and it was his first century in New Zealand. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
For over 60 overs, England finally had the upper hand over New Zealand on day 3 of the Test match in Hamilton. Rory Burns and Joe Root were making attritional progress in the face of some disciplined bowling by New Zealand on a sluggish pitch. Burns, who was dropped twice on the previous day, made full use of his life to smash a century while Root, who had been struggling for the last 15 innings finally broke the rut to smash his first century in New Zealand. Burns was the more aggressive of the lot as he found the boundary on a regular basis while Root took 145 balls to reach his fifty.
Burns neared his ton but he survived a run-out opportunity on 87 and he reached his century with a flick off Neil Wagner. However, he was immediately run-out. New Zealand, though, toiled hard on a lifeless pitch and had to put in the hard strides to prevent England from scoring freely. Although Tim Southee got the wicket of Ben Stokes, Root notched up his first century in nine months by hammering three boundaries off Wagner. The efforts of Root and Burns took England to 201 for two but towards the end they were reduced to 269 for five at stumps and still trailing New Zealand by 106.
Southee revealed that the run-out of Burns was the key in ensuring New Zealand did not lose all hope. "The run out got us going. We hung in there for long enough and we were able to get those rewards late in the day for all the toil we put in. If things aren't happening you keep on trying," Southee said.
The run-out also disappointed Burns, who said that England failed to capitalise on the solid base. "I enjoyed the fact I got it (hundred) but at the same time disappointed me and Rooty couldn't stretch our partnership and get us deeper into the game. We're disappointed to lose a couple of wickets at the back end as well," Burns said.