Joe Root becomes first visiting captain to score 200 in New Zealand

England gained the proverbial psychological edge by marching into the lead

England gained the proverbial psychological edge by marching into the lead

England's double-centurion believes his side can still level the test cricket series against New Zealand.

In their favour is a weather forecast predicting rain for large spells on day five as well as a slow pitch that, apart from some variable bounce, is offering the bare minimum to bowlers.

When play resumes on the final day of the last of two tests, New Zealand will be 96-2 for two in their second innings - trailing England by only five runs.

Root was beaten by a Tim Southee scuttler that just whistled past off-stump although the England captain dispatched the seamer for four with a shorter delivery that did not get up as expected.

Yet Root reasonably took the optimistic path for his team, which lost the first test by an innings, over their chances of victory after he'd given them a decent shot with an imperious 226.

While the New Zealand attack were willing, the field was spread out in an effort to stymie the boundaries but Root and Pope were able to intersperse the odd four with some hard running in-between the wickets.

"They're two experienced players who you expect a bit of rearguard from - they know how to play in those situations, and on a good surface you expect a bit of a fightback from the number two side in the world. They've got huge amounts of experience and are class players, so it would give our guys a lot of confidence for sure".

Root, 28, was under pressure entering the match after a lean run of form since he assumed the captaincy nearly three years ago.

Root admitted he wanted another 40 or 50 runs from his side, allowing them to declare at tea.

If Raval is feeling the pressure of his slump with an away series against Australia looming, he need only look at the England captain's timely double century to see fortunes can change.

"It would have been nice to get a couple more wickets".

"I have always felt like the runs were around the corner", he said.

Root and Pope added 110 in an attritional morning session that has come to define this series and they were only parted - and dismissed within five balls of each other - in the afternoon after entering into one-day mode. "We'd have taken this position at the start of the day".

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