Joe Root puts England in control against Sri Lanka

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Joe Root surpassed his magnificent knock in the Ashes at Lord's last summer with a glorious double century at the same venue, as England piled on a mammoth total against Sri Lanka. The tourists, though, were able to fight back by the close, although they remained some 435 runs in arrears.

Having resumed on 344-5 after day one of the first Test match against Sri Lanka at Lord's England would have been aiming to build a sizeable first innings total to put their visitors under pressure.

In the morning session England's overnight unbeaten batsmen, Root (102) and Matt Prior (76), will have wanted to continue their fantastic partnership and England themselves will have wanted to get through the crucial first hour unscathed and then continue building a formidable total. However, Sri Lanka decided to deploy short pitch bowling against the England batsmen and were rewarded by the dismissal of Matt Prior for 86 caught at short leg, fending a bouncer from Eranga to the waiting fielder. This brought an end to Root and Prior's 171-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

England looked surprisingly unsure early-on against Sri Lanka's short-pitched bowling tactics and, after playing some good looking strokes, debutant Chris Jordan (19) was also dismissed in similar fashion to Prior with the score on 402-7, also to Eranga.

England's batsmen were intent on scoring runs at a healthy rate, none more so than Stuart Broad who took on the bowling from the start. He hit a fantastic 47 from just 38 balls, entertaining the Lords crowd with a flurry of boundaries before he was eventually caught in the deep.

Meanwhile Root continued to accumulate runs steadily, anchoring the innings, finishing unbeaten on 152 at lunch, with England on 473-8. The first time England had posted a score over 400 in an innings since March 2013.

The first session saw England add 129 runs and they will have been pleased with their morning's work, particularly when scoring at over five an over.

The afternoon session saw England reach the 500 mark for the first time since scoring 523 against India at Eden Gardens in December 2012.

Yorkshire team-mates Root and Liam Plunkett added 81 for the tenth wicket before Plunkett became another to fall to a short ball for a bright and breezy 39 off 41 balls. Joe Root reached his highest Test score during this time and looked at ease throughout. He then moved on to his first Test match double-century, the fourth youngest English player to achieve such a feat, before England declared on 575-9 with Root unbeaten on 200 exactly.

It was a sublime innings from Root who has put the winter Ashes tour behind him with this one knock of pure class.

With such a formidable score against them Sri Lanka were looking for a strong reply. First they had to endure a tricky half an hour before tea but they negotiated that with relative ease, reaching 35 without loss.

The final session of the day began with Chris Jordan marking his debut with his first Test wicket from only his third ball, removing Karunaratne (38), caught behind by Prior, with the score on 54.

Despite this breakthrough Sri Lanka's batsmen looked fairly comfortable with everything that England could throw at them. Stuart Broad thought he had opener Kaushal Silva caught behind, with the score on 98, but the catch was referred to the third umpire after Silva stood his ground. Silva got the benefit of the doubt, much to England's, and particularly Prior's, disappointment.

Sri Lanka survived the remaining overs of the day to leave themselves on 140-1 by the close of play. The impressive Silva was unbeaten on 62 and Kumar Sangakkara on 32. The pair had added an unbroken 86 for the second wicket and will have given the Sri Lankan dressing room a huge lift after their struggles with the ball. However, they still trail by 435 runs and face a mammoth task ahead of them. England will not be too downhearted as they are in the ascendancy in the match and bowled well enough without taking more wickets.

Day three will be a hugely important, and perhaps, a pivotal day for both sides. England will need to capture early wickets to heap the pressure on Sri Lanka and the visitors will want to negotiate what will be a crucial first session. However, with the wicket becoming increasingly slow and low it will be hard work for either side to capture 20 wickets on this surface, particularly with no world-class spinner providing the variation in either bowling attack.

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Joe Root
England cricket

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