Joe Root’s record helps lead an England rally in Ashes opener

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Brisbane: Joe Root set a record for most runs in a calendar year by an England test batter and shared an unbroken 159-run stand with Dawid Malan on Friday to lead a rally in the Ashes series opener against Australia.

Root was unbeaten on 86 and Malan was 80 not out when England reached 220-2 at stumps on Day 3.

The England skipper has 1,541 runs so far in 2021, beating Michael Vaughan’s record of 1,481 runs in 2002. Mohammad Yousuf holds the test record with his 1,788 runs in 11 matches for Pakistan in 2006.

England is still 58 runs behind. But after being dismissed for 147 on Day 1 and conceding a 278-run first-innings deficit, the third-wicket pair finally gave England a session of dominance.

Root faced 158 deliveries, hit 10 boundaries and was one run shy of his highest previous score in an Ashes test Down Under. Malan faced 177 deliveries as the pair got through almost two full sessions.

Malan said the only way for England to go forward was to forget the first innings, not be sitting ducks and just take the attack back to the Australian bowlers. But he said the job was only half done, and England needed at least another 250-300 runs to pressure Australia.

With Root still there, it’s possible.

“He seems to somehow find a way of putting the pressure back on the bowlers,” Malan said. “It’s great signs for us as a team that Joe is playing well out here and leading from the front.”

Australia resumed Friday at 343-7 and added 82 for the loss three wickets in the morning session, with Travis Head bowled for 152 by Mark Wood to end the innings at 425.

England’s openers survived to reach 23 without loss at the first interval but both were out early in the afternoon session and the total was 61-2 when Root joined Malan at the crease.

Opener Rory Burns narrowly avoided an unwanted pair, getting a reprieve after being given out lbw to Mitchell Starc without scoring in the first over of England’s second innings two days after being bowled out by the Australian left-arm paceman on the first ball of the series.

This time, a successful review showed the ball may have gone over the stumps.

But he was out in the first over after lunch without addition to his score or the England total when he was caught behind of Australia captain Pat Cummins for 13.

Haseeb Hameed compiled 27 from 58 deliveries before he gloved a legside catch off Starc to wicketkeeper Alex Carey in the only other England wicket to fall on Day 3.

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