Root fails again to turn a good start into a century

SYDNEY (AP) Despite batting for 4 1/2 hours and frustrating one of the world’s best bowling units, England captain Joe Root failed again to convert a good start into a century during the fifth Ashes test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Root displayed great control and assuredness in making 83 and thwarted Australia’s attack after England had slid to a perilous 95-3 after the tourists won the toss and chose to bat.

But in the final overs and with just the third delivery with the second new ball, left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc had Root caught at square leg to ruin yet another century opportunity for the England skipper. It also ended a 133-run partnership with Dawid Malan that had helped steer England toward safety.

Root has now converted just 13 hundreds from 48 half-centuries in test cricket, a record that pales against contemporaries like Australia captain Steve Smith who has 23 hundreds from 45 innings past 50, including two hundreds and a double century this series.

”I thought Rooty played fantastically well up to that point, the second new (ball) is always a challenge,” Malan said. ”In his own mind he’s probably a bit disappointed he doesn’t convert more, but he’s still contributing for the team and putting the team in really good positions.”

”He still averages 53 or 54 in test cricket and the day will come when he will probably start converting as well as Steve Smith does or the other greats have done. and when that happens, it will be scary to see how good he can be and how high his average can jump too.”

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