Joe Root reaches unbeaten double ton as England declare at 575 v Sri Lanka

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Joe Root’s maiden Test double century took England to 575 for nine declared on the second day of their series opener against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on Friday.

Root was exactly 200 not out when England captain Alastair Cook called a halt to the innings.

James Anderson, who in his role as a No 11 batsman had helped see Root to his landmark score, nearly had an early wicket when Dimuth Karunaratne was given out lbw by Paul Reiffel.

But, after Sri Lanka challenged the former Australia paceman’s decision, tracking technology showed the ball going over the top of the stumps.

At tea, Sri Lanka were 35 without loss, with Karunaratne 19 not out and Kaushal Silva 16 not out.

Root’s innings was the second time in as many Tests at the ground that the 23-year-old Yorkshireman had made his Test-best score at Lord’s following his 180 against Australia last year.

England’s total was their highest against Sri Lanka, surpassing the 551 for six declared they made at Lord’s in 2006.

It was also the first time in 14 Tests that England had passed 400 in an innings.

England, who had been struggling at 74 for three when Root came in, resumed Friday well-placed on 344 for five.

Root, recalled after being dropped for the final Test of England’s 5-0 Ashes drubbing in Sydney in January was 102 not out.

Meanwhile Matt Prior, dropped from the side for the final two Ashes Tests, was 76 not out -- having only narrowly survived a second ball lbw appeal from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath on Thursday.

Sri Lanka, who’d struck early with the new ball on a green pitch after captain Angelo Mathews won the toss, had found wickets increasingly hard to come by.

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka unsettled both Root and wicketkeeper Prior as pacemen Nuwan Pradeep and Shaminda Eranga pitched short from around the wicket.

It was a tactic that twice yielded a dividend for Eranga.

Prior fell 14 runs shy of a comeback hundred when he fended a rising Eranga delivery to short leg having helped Root put on 171 for the sixth wicket.

Eranga struck again when Chris Jordan, one of three England debutants in this match along with Sam Robson and Moeen Ali, gloved a looping catch behind for 19.

Stuart Broad, primarily a seamer, kept the runs coming, however, with a flurry of boundaries, including two dismissive square-cuts off Nuwan Pradeep.

However, he pulled the seamer straight to deep mid-wicket to end a run-a-minute 47

Liam Plunkett was then dropped on two when Eranga put down a routine chance at mid-wicket.

It was an expensive miss as Plunkett, in his first Test for seven years, went on to make 39 before he holed out, having helped Root add 81 for the ninth wicket.

Anderson, in with Root 19 runs shy of a double century, showed his confidence by getting off the mark with a reverse-swept four off Herath.

Root’s lapped two off the spinner then took him to a double century in just over five hours off 298 balls with 16 fours.

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Published: June 13, 2014 04:00 AM

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