Man of the day
Joe Root's 87 led England's belated show of resistance in Adelaide
Last Updated: 08/12/13 11:34pm
Faced with a victory target of 531 to avoid his side going 2-0 down in the series, Root used it as an opportunity to make a strong case for a continued run at No 3 in the order with an impressive innings of 87.
Demoted to No 6 for the opening Test at The Gabba from the opening position he filled with mixed results during England's 3-0 win over the same opponents earlier in the year, the Yorkshire right-hander found himself on the move again for this match due to Jonathan Trott's early return home.
There were already calls for Ian Bell to replace Root at first drop after their contrasting efforts in the first innings; Root holed out for 15 after becoming bogged down, while Bell was left stranded on 72 not out.
He was once again in early after Mitchell Johnson removed England skipper Alastair Cook for the second time in the match.
England were soon 20-2 and approaching crisis point when Michael Carberry followed his captain's lead and was caught at fine-leg off Peter Siddle.
But Root and Kevin Pietersen produced a 111-run partnership, easily England's best of the series, with their contrasting styles proving complementary.
Root stayed back in defence at all times, while Pietersen looked to advance, particularly to the spinners.
Another impressive feature of Root's innings was his running between the wickets, in particular the ability to drop the ball on the off-side at the right weight for easy singles.
He handled Johnson's hostility - both the 90mph deliveries and accompanying verbals - in expert fashion, smiling his way through a bombardment of short balls much to the bowler's irritation.
He also punished anything loose with nine fours in his 194-ball stay that ended early in the evening session when, 13 short of a century, an inside edge off a Nathan Lyon delivery looped up to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin via thigh pad.
Root had to drag himself away to the dressing room and his exit reduced England to 171-5. By the close that had become 247-6.
Short of a final-day deluge (and there is some morning rain expected in Adelaide), the tourists appear certain to lose this match but Root has at least shown runs can be scored against this Australian attack with the right combination of technique and mental application.