England skipper Root extends form of life with 121 for England in 3rd test

LEEDS (AP): Carrying on the best form of his life, England captain Joe Root scored his third century of the series against India to move his team into a prime position to win the third test at Headingley on Thursday.

Root struck 121 — adding to knocks of 109 and 180 earlier in the series and three other three-figure scores in 2021 — as England reached 423-8 at the end of Day 2, for a lead of 345 runs.

Root, who has two double centuries in his remarkable scoring run this year, has tied England’s record for the most test hundreds in a year. No previous test captain has scored six centuries in a calendar year.

India, which was dismissed for 78 in just 40.4 overs on Wednesday, had no answer to Root’s array of shot-making on the ground of his English county side, Yorkshire, and the fans in Headingley’s raucous Western Terrace serenaded their man as he hit a boundary into the leg side to reach his century.

Root removed his helmet, leapt into the air and screamed “YES!” before being lifted off his feet by teammate Jonny Bairstow.

Resuming on 120-0 after dominating day 1, England lost both openers — Rory Burns (61) and Haseeb Hameed (68) — before lunch to bring Root to the crease. He shared a 139-run partnership with Dawid Malan, who was caught behind down the leg side off the final ball of the second session for 70 to end his impressive first test innings since 2018.

Bairstow added 29, and both Jos Buttler (7) and Moeen Ali (8) fell cheaply.

England still moved beyond 400, with Craig Overton (23) and Ollie Robinson (0) at the crease at stumps.

England players wore black armbands in honor of Ted Dexter, the former England captain from the 1960s who died on Wednesday.

India leads the five-match series 1-0.