Vaughan labels Root a 'genius' after fastest Test century

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan proclaimed Joe Root a "genius" after his 116-ball century on day three of England's second Test against New Zealand.

Root, who also scored a vital ton in England's victory in the first Test at Lord's, ended Sunday's play on 163 not out, with the hosts still trailing the Black Caps' first innings total of 553 by 80 runs as they closed on 473-5 at Trent Bridge.

It took Root just 116 balls to reach three figures, the fewest he has ever scored a century in during a productive Test career, and he has now converted 10 of his last 14 fifties into 100s (71 per cent).

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, Vaughan was effusive in his praise of Root, who also recently passed 10,000 Test runs.

"When he gets out in the middle, that's his peaceful place," Vaughan said. "He just enjoys it.

"I've never seen a player bat for so long and still seem to look so busy every ball.

"He's a genius. That's a word that probably gets used too much but the way he's played over the last couple of years is just genius."

It was also a landmark day for Ollie Pope, whose 145 helped England along as they chased the imposing first innings total set by New Zealand.

Also speaking to TMS, Pope said: "It was very special. My first home hundred. It was an amazing feeling. A great crowd here at Trent Bridge.

"It hasn't been an easy ride over the past however long with the Ashes and whatever, so it's nice to be in that changing room and batting out there today.

"I know I've got the game for this level. It's just about trying to be as consistent as possible. A new role – batting higher up the order – can provide that opportunity."

Pope, who hit three sixes in his knock before hooking a Trent Boult delivery to the hands of Matt Henry, has been batting third in the order in this series, the first time he has done so in his career, but he welcomes the challenge.

"There's one ball difference between three and four and that's where I bat for Surrey," he said. "I love batting there. Getting out there and getting amongst the cricket rather than sitting and waiting with your pads on for so long is something I've seen as a positive."

He also provided some insight into early life under new Test head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

"We've gone away from the tactical aspects of things," he added. "We can do that away from the games. It's just about decision-making. Almost just enjoying it and loving every minute out there because it's cricket. It's supposed to be fun and today was. I love batting and today was a great day."

Pope also joined Vaughan in praising Root, saying: "Amazing. He's England's greatest. Watching him do what he's doing at the moment – it's a joy to be a part of in the changing room or out there in the middle with him. It's amazing to watch."

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