• England Lions v NZ, Tour Match, Grace Road, 3rd day

Root key to Lions dominance

Andrew McGlashan at Grace Road
May 11, 2013
England Lions 315 for 4 (Root 143*) lead New Zealanders 285 by 30 runs
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Joe Root continued to look at ease © Getty Images
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James Taylor missed the chance to further bolster his impressive England Lions record when he fell cheaply on a rain-ruined day but Joe Root continued to add to his early season tally to start building a lead, while New Zealand picked up an injury worry over Tim Southee.

Taylor, who came in after the nightwatchman Chris Wright had edged to slip, pushed at a delivery quite wide of off stump and feathered to the wicketkeeper to give Trent Boult his second scalp of the morning during the 22 overs of play that were possible before frequent heavy showers wiped out the rest of the day

Boult had problems with his front foot on the second day, sending down eight no-balls, but was in far better rhythm this morning after shaking off the early tour rust. He shaped the ball in nicely to the right handers, then it was the straighter deliveries that found the edges of both Wright and Taylor.

His opening bowling partner, Southee, bowled five overs in the morning before being sent to see a specialist about a problem with his left foot and would not have bowled again had rain allowed further play

Root continued to look at ease, and even when he was almost beaten in the flight by a delivery from Bruce Martin he was confident enough to go through with his shot and found the deep midwicket boundary. Root now has 610 first-class runs this season at 203.33.

Jonny Bairstow, who was earlier confirmed in England's Test squad alongside Root, made a brisk start to his innings as he tried to follow his Yorkshire team-mate's route (the pair's careers have evolved together since they earned scholarships aged 13 and 14) and score some early points against the New Zealand bowlers before Lord's.

"I've got a few runs under my belt at Headingley and still not out in this game, which is pleasing," he said. "There have been a lot of players scoring runs this season and I'm lucky enough to be picked. Hopefully I'll do myself justice."

Martin bore the brunt of Bairstow's attacking display but the suggestion remains that New Zealand favour a balanced attack for the Test rather than playing four quicks. Doug Bracewell has been steady here, and was denied Root's wicket yesterday when he was dropped at slip, but has not completely convinced that he would be a better option to Neil Wagner - although if Southee's problem is serious there could be room for both.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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