Ben Stokes hammered the fastest century ever at Lord’s as England put themselves into a winning position in the first Test against New Zealand on Sunday.
He built on a resolute, fighting century from the much-maligned captain Alastair Cook, who ended the day unbeaten on 153 as England piled up 429-6 and a vital lead of 295 with a day to go.
He had to apply himself on an overcast morning when the balled zipped and swung, claiming the wicket of Ian Bell to leave the home side at 74-3, still 60 runs behind.
Cook led from the front, first alongside Root, who contributed 84 to a 158-run stand, and then as anchor to Stokes, whose 85-ball blitz, which included 15 fours and three sixes – all off Tim Southee – will be remembered by the near sell-out crowd at Lord’s.
The captain added 24 runs to their 132-run partnership, but when Stokes fell, caught at slip heaving at Mark Craig for 101, he calmly guided England to the close for the loss of Jos Buttler (14).
Cook’s 27th Test century, leaves him 40 runs shy of Graham Gooch’s England Test run-scoring record.
The question now is when to declare and give his so-far blunt attack time to take 10 wickets. If he stands down in the morning, New Zealand would need to pull off the second-highest fourth-innings run chase at Lord’s.
Full scoreboard here