England 142-2 at lunch on day 3, 2nd test vs. New Zealand

HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — England captain Joe Root battled back to form with a tenacious half-century in a 118-run partnership with Rory Burns Sunday on the third morning of the second cricket test against New Zealand.

Root was 50 not out at lunch, Burns was 76 and England was 142-2, still 233 runs behind New Zealand's first innings of 375.

The England captain brought up his 46th test half-century just before lunch from 145 balls in 179 minutes. Burns had preceded him to his sixth fifty from 97 balls, in 158 minutes with eight fours.

Root made 2 and 11 in the first test at Mount Maunganui which New Zealand won by an innings and 65 runs, continuing a relatively lean run of form which has seen his average as captain fall below 40.

Root came into the second test having scored 371 runs in 14 innings at an average of 26 since the England summer began in July. He looked out of sorts at Mount Maunganui but was much more confident at the crease Sunday as he helped steady England's innings after its resumption at 39-2.

Root and Burns led England past 50 in the 21st over, then past 100 only 14 overs later as they accumulated steadily throughout the morning.

The only real alarm for either batsman came just before lunch when Root was given out, caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper B.J. Watling from the bowling of Daryl Mitchell. Root immediately challenged the decision and replays showed the ball had missed the bat and grazed the pad.

New Zealand tested both batsmen with short deliveries in the extended first session and while both played in the air at times, they placed their shots well wide of fieldsmen.

England still has some work to do to match New Zealand's first innings but Burns and Root look well set on a docile pitch at Seddon Park. Their partnership of 118 at lunch had come from only 260 balls.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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