Ashes: Joe Root makes maiden Ashes century on day three of second Test at Lord's
Joe Root registered a superb maiden Ashes century as England constructed a mammoth lead on day three at Lord's.
Last Updated: 21/07/13 3:40pm
On a day when a forlorn-looking Australian bowling attack managed only two wickets, the 22-year-old lasted the duration to reach stumps unbeaten on 178 as England finished at 333-5 - a lead of 566.
Early on Root had combined well with nightwatchman Tim Bresnan to guide the hosts through the morning session without the loss of a wicket as England all but batted Australia out of the game.
Resuming on 31-3 after a flurry of late wickets on Friday evening, the Yorkshire pair looked assured as they navigated their way through a comfortable morning on a largely benign pitch.
Bresnan needed 30 balls to get off the mark but eventually did so with an unconvincing pull for a single off James Pattinson, but was soon adding boundaries through midwicket and cover after Australian skipper Michael Clarke replaced Peter Siddle with Ryan Harris from the pavilion end.
Root, who had a significant moment of fortune on eight yesterday when he edged Shane Watson between wicketkeeper and slip, had no alarms and brought up his first 50 since switching to top of the order when he pushed James Pattinson through the covers for a couple.
The 22-year-old reached the landmark off 122 balls with six boundaries and had moved serenely on to 63 not out at the lunch break with Bresnan unbeaten on 32.
Australia's lack of threat was again evident after lunch as the fourth-wicket pair meandered along under no real pressure and it came as something of a surprise when a wicket did finally fall.
It was Bresnan who perished for 38 as he mistimed a pull off the bowling of Pattinson to offer Chris Rogers a regulation catch at mid-wicket.
That brought Ian Bell to the crease and, having taken 11 balls to get off the mark, England's most in-form batsman was very fortunate not to depart for just three.
Harris induced a thick edge from the Warwickshire right-hander which looked to have been well pouched by Steve Smith at point, but a referral saw the third umpire decide that there was sufficient doubt over whether it had been taken cleanly to allow Bell to continue.
Taking full advantage of the reprieve, Bell upped the tempo with successive boundaries off a Siddle over and that seemed to spark Root into life as he added some quick runs before the tea interval.
Having cruised into the 90s, he moved within one stroke of a ton with a fine back-foot cut through the covers off the leg-break bowling of Smith and then had two inviting opportunities to reach three figures only to twice hit fielders.
But he did not have long to wait on the resumption, cutting Ashton Agar square of the wicket to secure his second Test hundred and a place on the Lord's honours board.
Having swept past 50, Bell looked on course for his third century in as many innings until a stylish contribution ended on 74 as he also picked out Rogers at mid-wicket - this time the rank long-hop having come from Smith.
With England apparently in no rush to post a declaration, Root continued on his merry way and passed 150 as he tucked Smith off his legs to deep square-leg.
The youngster then rubbed salt in gaping Australian wounds in the penultimate over of the day as he hoisted the leg-spinner for two sixes in the space of three balls over the mid-wicket boundary and will now return on Sunday morning looking to complete a double-century, with Jonny Bairstow at the other end unbeaten on 11.