After 16 wickets fell on Day 2 at Lord's, England continue to assert their dominance during Day 3 that will quickly escape the memory of most.
One individual who won't forget July 20, 2013 is England's newly installed opening batsman Joe Root. The 22-year-old showed great maturity to produce his first century in Ashes cricket. Root remained an immovable force at the crease, battling across two days to halt Australia's hopes of levelling the series score at 1-1.
As England head into Day 4 of the Second Test with a commanding lead, let's take a look at the highlights which got them there.
England started Day 3 on a wobbly 31/3 after Peter Siddle blasted his way through Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen the night before. Root—who was joined by nightwatchman Tim Bresnan—quickly regained England's momentum with a smart four from Siddle's first ball. Such a shot immediately returned the initiative to a host nation that has maintained control throughout the majority of the series.
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Bresnan played a huge part in helping Root establish himself at the crease. The 28-year-old has never scored a Test century but he appeared to have orders of staying put from England coach Andy Flower. Bresnan grabbed his first run after 30 balls of a slow innings for all.
The partnership of Root and Bresnan brought up a handy 50 with a lucky shot from the latter in over 38. Ashton Agar's spinning delivery threatened to hit the wicket, but a minuscule edge saw the ball race away for three. Root notched his half century shortly after and heightened the feeling of frustration for an Australian side that failed to gain any momentum whatsoever.
The Baggy Greens enjoyed a slight reprisal after lunch with the eventual wicket of Bresnan. Lots of glum faces were temporarily lifted with an outpouring of joy, but before long, England settled back into a comfortable rhythm. The Root/Bresnan partnership brought up a brilliant 99 runs, as tweeted by BBC Sport:
Ian Bell joined Root after Bresnan's dismissal and was fortunate to surpass three runs. He pushed a teasing ball from Ryan Harris into Steven Smith's hands at gully, only for the fielder to slightly fumble between his fingers. All three umpires agreed Smith used the ground to aid his catch and ruled the decision not out.
Such an event marked a highlight from a mind-numbing day at Lord's. With Bresnan's early steel propping the England score up, it was Root who continued to twist the knife with an excellent first Ashes century. As revealed by the BBC, he is the youngest batsman to hit 100 at the Home of Cricket:
Joe Root (22yrs, 202 days) is the youngest to make an #Ashes century for England at Lord’s.— BBC TMS (@bbctms) July 20, 2013
Root wasn't finished, however.
Alastair Cook will be hugely proud of a player who has single-handedly taken England toward a 2-0 lead. Root brought up his 150 with a single off Smith and finished the day on a stunning 178. He has faced 334 balls and lasted well over a day for the hosts. As the series progresses, Root's performance will undoubtedly be remembered as a pivotal point of the Second Test.
With players such as Cook and Kevin Pietersen yet to fire for England, the visitors should be terrified of what's to come. England have plenty left in the locker, and if Flower's men can bring everything together at the same time, will end the series dancing around in a spray of champagne.