Joe Root’s dismissal on the stroke of tea on day three of the first New Zealand-England Test drew criticism after he was out reverse sweeping for the second time in the Test.
The first session of the third day was fascinating. England batted aggressively, targeting Neil Wagner in particular. Wagner almost exclusively bowled short to the England batters who responded by taking on the veteran left-armer.
It was Ollie Pope who first took the attack to Wagner, hooking him for six over fine leg on three separate occasions. With Tim Southee packing the leg-side with catchers both in short and out deep, Pope often backed away to swat Wagner through the vacant off-side.
Pope fell to Wagner for 49, but England’s No. 6 Harry Brook continued in a similar vein, looking to attack Wagner both towards fine leg and straight. Wagner finished the session with figures of 2-104 from 11 overs. Brook fell to Blair Tickner shortly after the Yorkshireman registered his second half-century of the Test match, leaving Root with a few overs to negotiate before tea with Ben Foakes at the other end.
Following Brook’s dismissal, England were more circumspect as the interval approached taking 12 runs from the following 27 deliveries. That was until Root reverse-swept the first ball of the session’s final over – delivered by off-spinner Michael Bracewell – only to glove the ball through to Daryl Mitchell at slip, via a deflection off the gloves of Tom Blundell. It was the second time in the Test that Root was dismissed playing a reverse shot.
At the point of Root’s dismissal, England were 237-6 in their second innings, leading by 256 with conditions still very good for batting. Root was immediately criticised by Craig McMillan on commentary, who said: “It’s a monumental mistake from Joe Root. The final over before the break, he’s gone for the reverse sweep…so unnecessary.”
You can watch the dismissal below:
The reverse-sweep is Joe Root’s downfall for the second time in the match #NZvENG pic.twitter.com/jjXusDhQsL
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 18, 2023
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