New Zealand v England: Joe Root falls on final ball of day four

By Matthew HenryBBC Sport
New Zealand celebrate Joe Root's wicket
Trent Boult's dismissal of Root gave him an eighth wicket in the match
First Test, Eden Park, Auckland (day four of five)
England 58 & 132-3: Stoneman 55, Root 51; Boult 2-24
New Zealand 427-8 dec: Nicholls 145; Broad 3-78
England trail by 237 runs

England captain Joe Root was dismissed on the final ball of day four as New Zealand took a big step towards victory in the first Test at Auckland.

Root gloved a bouncer from Trent Boult through to wicketkeeper BJ Watling, leaving England on 132-3 at the close.

They trail New Zealand by 237 runs after the hosts declared their first innings on 427-8 with Henry Nicholls finishing on 145 not out.

England must bat out the final day for a draw.

New Zealand need seven wickets to inflict England's 10th defeat in their past 12 Test matches overseas.

Root's wicket fell on the fifth ball of the final over with no time for a new batsman to take to the field.

It also came one ball after he took a nasty hit to the glove from another bouncer by Boult and had to receive lengthy treatment.

Dramatic final wicket puts Kiwis in charge

Trent Boult
Trent Boult's dismissal of Joe Root sparked wild celebrations among New Zealand's players

Root had looked uneasy at times during his innings - he got off the mark with a top-edged pull for four - but settled the England innings by growing into his knock which brought up a 38th Test half-century.

But once again Root fell between 50 and 100, a problem which has plagued him in recent times, having not converted any of his past eight half-centuries into a hundred.

The wicket-taking delivery from Boult bounced more than Root expected and, in attempting to fend the ball into the leg side, he gloved it through to the wicketkeeper.

"That was really good bowling from Trent Boult," former England spinner Graeme Swann said on BBC Test Match Special.

"An absolute snorter to finish the day off. The worst possible finish for England and a real body blow.

"Joe Root was seething as he went off, really not happy with life."

Root's dismissal leaves England without their captain and best batsman as they fight to salvage an unlikely draw, having been bowled out for 58 in the first session on day one.

Opener Mark Stoneman also reached his half-century but he was dismissed by Neil Wagner, hitting a poor pull shot straight to deep fine leg.

Alastair Cook was the other England wicket to fall, caught behind off Boult in the third over of the England innings.

More toil for England bowlers while Nicholls impresses

James Anderson bowls for England
James Anderson finished with three wickets in the innings

England's batting performance followed another frustrating day with the ball as they once again struggled for penetration.

All of the wickets on day four came when the New Zealand batsmen played attacking shots in an attempt to increase their scoring rate rather than from good bowling.

Watling fell to Stuart Broad as he chased a wide delivery, Colin de Grandhomme top-edged an ambitious pull shot off Craig Overton, Todd Astle played on to his stumps driving on the up and Tim Southee chipped a caught-and-bowled chance back to Root before New Zealand declared with eight wickets down.

This will be the sixth match in a row - including the entire Ashes - in which England have failed to take 20 wickets.

Broad and James Anderson finished with three wickets each but England's other three frontline bowlers, Overton, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali, only took one wicket between them for the cost of 236 runs.

"England just don't have the strike bowlers beyond James Anderson and Stuart Broad to take the wickets," Swann said.

Nicholls' century was split across all four days of the Test because of the rain delays on days two and three, and he finished unbeaten on his highest first-class score.

'We need a hero' - reaction

Stuart Broad hugs Matt Prior during 2013 drawn Test
England will need a similar innings to the century by former wicketkeeper Matt Prior which helped them save a draw on the final day last time they played at Eden Park in 2013

England bowler Stuart Broad: "We need a hero tomorrow.

"It's a real shame to lose Joe to the last ball of the day. He played fantastically well and showed the discipline and determination you need.

"I got down to the changing room and he was nowhere to be seen. I think he's probably sat in the toilet or something rather frustrated with himself.

"We know he is a team man, team player and will have been gutted. He would have been a key man but it's up to someone else.

"There are no demons in this pitch. We are confident we can save this game."

Former England spinner Graeme Swann on TMS: "I still think England can save this game.

"Dawid Malan looked very good, very composed at the crease. But it's longer odds now.

"If they can get through to lunch without losing, it could be a game that England save."


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