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Joe Root hits ton as England build lead on day one of first Ashes Test

Root hits ton as England build lead on day one of Ashes
© Reuters
England end day one of the first Ashes Test against Australia with a lead of 379 as Joe Root hits what could prove to be an important century at Edgbaston.

Joe Root was the star of the show on day one of the first Ashes Test as his century helped England establish a 379-run lead over Australia at Edgbaston.

After winning the toss, England combined scoring runs at a brisk rate with half of their batting lineup giving their wicket away, with Root making 118 not out before Ben Stokes opted to declare on 393-8.

The move was taken to give his bowlers 20 minutes at the Australian openers, but the calculated risk did not pay off as the tourists reached the close on 14 without loss.

Although the argument will be that the declaration should have been expected, only time will tell if it proves to be the right move, and it should not just be Stokes who is judged if Australia win this Test.

On a perfect batting pitch, Ben Duckett (12) and Ollie Pope (31) went cheaply, but England had a productive morning through Zak Crawley making 61 from 73 before he was dismissed by Scott Boland in the final over before lunch.

Harry Brook played his part in England regrouping in the second session, yet the Ashes newcomer got out in bizarre circumstances for 32 as an attempted nudge off his hip off the bowling of Nathan Lyon saw the ball loop up in the air and spin back onto his middle stump.

Stokes followed for just one, England now in trouble at 176-5, but Root and Jonny Bairstow (78) launched a counter-attack that saw 121 runs come from 110 deliveries.

Bairstow's knock was a run per ball, although he and Moeen Ali (18) were each stumped off the bowling of Lyon to bring Stuart Broad to the crease.

At this point, Root was only in the eighties, but Broad hung around for 16 off 21 balls to help him edge nearer to his ton before he ultimately proceeded to make 118 from 152 balls, an innings which featured seven fours and four maximums.

While Ollie Robinson was going along nicely with 17 from 31, it did not prevent Stokes from taking the option of having four overs at the Australian openers.

Nevertheless, David Warner (8*) and Usman Khawaja (4*) survived two overs apiece from Broad and Robinson, with James Anderson being saved for the morning session on Saturday.

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England's Stuart Broad pictured on July 25, 2020
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