A marvellous century from Joe Root propelled England into a massive lead on day three of the second Ashes Test at Lords.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a fine day at the crease as he batted confidently throughout all three sessions to reach 178no at stumps, leaving England on 331/5 – a whopping 566 runs ahead of Australia with two days still to play.
With the hosts resuming on 31/3 in the morning following a flurry of late wickets on Friday evening, it seemed as if England would have to force through a winning advantage at the risk of losing periodic wickets.
But from the moment nightwatchman Tim Bresnan was removed by James Pattinson for 32, it was serene progress all the way for England and Root who put together a stunning 153 partnership with the in-form Ian Bell.
Bell was however extremely fortunate not to lose his wicket on 3 after shipping a thick edge to Steven Smith who was deemed not to have gathered the ball cleanly by the third umpire.
That decision appeared to bolster Alistair Cook’s men whilst conversely deflating Michael Clarke’s bowling attack who toiled for the remainder of play.
Bell’s dismissal on 74 was a result of error rather than delivery as he nonchalantly lobbed a long hop straight to Chris Rogers at mid-wicket.
It hardly proved consequential in the grand scheme of the Test as Root continued to dominate with Jonathan Bairstow taking over in the supporting role.
The pair will resume devoid of pressure and eager to attack further on Sunday morning with England likely to declare around lunch.
That may well give Root adequate time and opportunity to record his double century which would almost definitely warrant the man of the match accolade.
Australia will be keen to get out of the field to restore pride following their first innings nightmare however they will need to pull off something rather special to prevent falling 2-0 behind in the series.