Joe Root declared he has "never had more fun playing professional cricket" after England's terrific red-ball form continued with a 2-1 series victory over South Africa.

Having recorded memorable triumphs over New Zealand and India since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum took over as the side's captain and coach partnership, England enjoyed further success as they sealed a nine-wicket victory over the Proteas at The Oval on Monday.

England have now claimed four consecutive series wins over South Africa, and have won six of their seven Tests under the new regime.

They have also earned widespread praise for their adventurous style under McCullum – dubbed 'Bazball' – and Root has been impressed by their rapid progress.  

"It's been absolute class," the former skipper said. "It's been great to be part of, so much fun to play the way we have played, and to win six out of seven is a reflection of the quality with which we've played. 

"It makes the winter and beyond look very exciting for this team. To know there's still more potential and areas we can improve is the most exciting part of it. 

"We're definitely not the finished article, but to see the strides we've made in such a short space of time has been a breath of fresh air. 

"I'm buzzing about it, to be honest, looking forward to the next series already!

"I've never had more fun playing professional cricket. Honestly, it is hard to put into words. You turn up every day, and you're very excited about what's going to happen. It's the unknown. 

"It's quite a strange feeling to have played 120-odd games, still to have that feeling when you turn up every day. 

"It's a really good place to be. It keeps you very hungry and motivated. You can bounce off the energy of everybody else who is in the same mindset."

Root then compared England's development to that of the country's one-day side, who won the 2019 World Cup following a change in style under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan.

"Some of the things we'd never seen before in Test cricket happened in a short space of time. It's nice to know what we're capable of," he added. 

"It almost feels like - I hate drawing the comparison, but there is a small feeling of what it was like when we started to make those really big scores in the white-ball team. 

"That's the exciting thing - what is the limit, how far can we go? 

"You look at what that team has achieved over a period of time. I know it is early days and a lot of different elements to Test cricket, compared to the white-ball format, but it is very exciting that there is the same sort of vibe around, in my mind anyway."

England Test captain Ben Stokes has spoken of his pride over his journey as he confessed he had "gone through a lot of stuff".

Stokes took a break from cricket for five months in 2021 to prioritise his mental health after suffering panic attacks, recently revealing that he feared he may never play cricket again.

Since his return he has taken over the England Test captaincy from Joe Root and won his first four matches before last week's defeat to visiting South Africa.

The 31-year-old is the focus of a new Amazon Prime documentary that goes into detail on Stokes' battle with mental health.

On Wednesday he reflected on his journey, telling reporters: "Looking back on everything I went through and seeing myself in a different way is something I can look back on now and almost go 'I've gone through a lot of stuff' but managed to work my way through it.

"To be here today as England Test captain is something hopefully a lot of people can take a lot of promise from and realise that even when you do feel like you are down and dark you can bounce back and achieve things you want to.

"When the project had finished and I watched it back for the first time, the first impression I got was that maybe it would help people.

"I went into quite a lot with it because the experiences I went through was something that a lot of people do go through but sometimes don't feel like they can talk about. 

"But me being me, and the platform I've got to go into what I went through from a non-selfish point of view, was something I wanted to do.

"And I'm actually very proud of the stuff I've gone into and I've already received a lot of messages from people saying thanks for doing what you did."

Joe Root praised Ben Stokes for showing "great courage" by opening up on the mental health battle which led him to take a break from cricket last year.

Stokes stepped away from the sport for five months in July 2021 after suffering panic attacks, having previously taken compassionate leave to deal with the death of his father and struggled after rushing his recovery from a broken finger.

Ahead of the airing of a new documentary detailing his experiences in that difficult period, Stokes revealed on Tuesday that he feared he would never return to cricket during his break.

Stokes' predecessor as England Test captain has now moved to declare his support for the 31-year-old, saying his willingness to speak out on the subject represents a perfect demonstration of leadership.

"I think it's exactly what you've come to see from Ben as a leader, how honest he is," Root said.

"I think it shows great courage, great bravery, to go and speak openly about that sort of stuff and some of the struggles that he's personally been through.

"We were all there with him, going through it. It's not easy to see a close friend and team-mate like that.

"But look at him now, it's great to have him leading this team and making Test cricket so enjoyable to play and to watch.

"I think, like with any of your mates, you want to get around and do what you can to help. That goes within the dressing room environment away from the game as well."

Jos Buttler must be granted time and patience to help England "evolve" as a white-ball side after a disappointing start to his captaincy following Eoin Morgan's international retirement.

That is the message from Joe Root, whose 86 at Durham on Tuesday was not enough to stop Buttler's team falling to a 62-run defeat against South Africa.

England lost back-to-back white-ball series against India before the defeat in the first of a three-match ODI series with South Africa following Buttler the appointment of Buttler as Eoin Morgan's successor. 

Buttler has also failed to deliver with the bat since taking the captaincy, passing 50 just once in his past seven innings - including three single-figure scores.

Though the wicketkeeper-batter has lost five of his first seven games in charge, Root has backed Buttler as England go through a transitional period following Morgan's retirement.

"I think for Jos and a number of the guys who've been around this setup for a couple of years, there's been a lot of change in a very short space of time," said the former Test captain.

"And that sometimes can just take a little bit of getting used to and there's not been that time yet where you can really sit and reflect and sort of work things out.

"So I think there has to be some sort of understanding towards that. But they are big figures that you mentioned, influential players, and that creates great opportunities for guys to step right up and really take hold of a few positions within the team and not just in terms of performance, but in filling those leadership voids as well.

"There are some very talented players, some great cricket minds that can go on and do some special things like Eoin has done and Ben [Stokes] has done as well for the last seven to 10 years."

The ODI retirement of Test captain Stokes, who has stepped away from 50-over internationals as he says playing in all three formats is "unst, gives Buttler another issue to contend with in his middle order.

While Stokes embodied the attacking and front-foot approach that Morgan's team embraced en route to winning the Cricket World Cup final in 2019, Root urged England to now adapt and evolve.

"I think as a team, you've always got to look to evolve," he added. "You always do. And I think we did that very well over a four-year period. 

"I don't think we just said 'right this is how we're going to do it for four years and we can't move away from that.'

"I think we grew and we evolved and developed and became good in different situations in different conditions around the world. We had to be if we were going to be consistent and take some of the best teams on in their own conditions.

"I think that's exactly as things will have to happen moving forward as well. I know Jos has got a great cricket mind, he understands this game brilliantly.

"He's going to be a great captain. And I don't think these results are a fair reflection of the way that he's going about his business as a leader.

"Sometimes it does take time for things to bed in. I don't think it will take that long with him. I just think that we haven't had a lot of the format. We've had a very busy schedule."

There was no sentiment on show at Chester-le-Street as Rassie van der Dussen scored 134 in a comfortable South Africa victory over England in Ben Stokes' final ODI.

The Proteas batted with a fine temperament to set England an intimidating 334 to chase, despite losing captain Quinton de Kock for 19 when Sam Curran (1-67) bowled him in the seventh over.

Van der Dussen came in to put on a partnership of 109 with opener Janneman Malan before the latter hit a Moeen Ali (1-47) delivery to Liam Livingstone for 57.

Aiden Markram (77) picked up where Malan left off to put on a further 151 with Van der Dussen, taking the Proteas to almost 300 for the loss of just two wickets before both fell in the 46th over to Livingstone (2-30).

England made a steady start in response to the imposing total, with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow trying to build a foundation for the chase, putting together a century partnership.

But Roy (43) tried to hit Keshav Maharaj's next ball (1-42) over long-on, only to lob the ball straight into the hands of David Miller.

Bairstow's 63 helped, while Joe Root tried his best to salvage things, but the writing seemed to be on the wall when Stokes trudged off for just five, trapped lbw by Markram (2-25).

Root was offered little assistance by team-mates, and after he dragged an Anrich Nortje (4-53) delivery onto his stumps for 86, South Africa claimed the final wickets to seal a 62-run win in the first of a three-match series.

Van der Dussen lights up Durham

South Africa batted well as a team, showing that it is not all about sixes in 50-over cricket as they managed to post a total of 333 without hitting any maximums.

Head of the charge was Van der Dussen, whose impressive 117-ball 134 saw him bat through more than 40 overs, hitting 10 fours and ensuring the hosts' chase would feel as heated as the temperature in England.

Far from an ideal swansong for Stokes

After announcing that Tuesday's clash would be the last of his ODI career, Stokes will have not been too pleased with his contribution at his home ground.

He bowled just five overs, with figures of 0-44, before failing to hit a single boundary as he fell for five from 11 balls with the bat.

Ben Stokes intends to "create a legacy" with his new approach to Test cricket, and the captain of England's entertainers was further inspired by facing India's Rishabh Pant.

Since Stokes was named captain and Brendon McCullum head coach, England have won four consecutive Tests in thrilling fashion.

Across a 3-0 series whitewash of New Zealand and the delayed fifth Test against India, in which they secured a series draw, England chased down scores of more than 275 runs in every match.

Stokes' side were ultimately dominant against India, winning by seven wickets despite requiring 378 in the fourth innings – the highest target they have ever successfully pursued.

An unbroken partnership of 269 between Joe Root (142 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (114 no) completed the job, with the pair scaling new heights.

Root now has 11 Test centuries since the start of 2021 and continues to improve, "which I thought was impossible", Stokes said, referring to his former skipper as "a freak".

But the exciting 'Bazball' tactics of the past month have not been restricted to just those two players, with Stokes confirming Stuart Broad had been padded up on day four to go in as a "nighthawk", rather than a nightwatchman.

His aim? "Thirty off 10 or nought off one."

And Stokes also saw evidence of the future of Test cricket in the India batting line-up, as Pant scored 146 off 111 in the first innings. His wicket, the England captain said, was every bit as key as the Root-Bairstow partnership.

"He is someone who would fit very well in our team at the moment, Rishabh, the way that he goes about to play the game," Stokes said.

"That wicket was huge for us because we know what he can do. We know how he likes to play the game, and he could really have taken it away from us in real quick time."

Later, discussing the "legacy" he and McCullum hope to forge, Stokes again turned his focus to Pant's performance.

"Rishabh Pant's innings for India in the first innings was obviously against us, but I absolutely loved watching it," he said. "Being on the receiving end of something like that is just is incredible to watch.

"And it's great to see now that someone like Rishabh, who's obviously received his criticism over the years, is now getting applauded for that.

"The more we see players like that succeed in the way that they want to do, I think the negativity around that type of way of Test cricket will eventually die out, because it's so exciting to watch.

"Cricket is an entertainment business at the end of the day. Yes, you want results and stuff like that, but you want people to enjoy watching a spectacle.

"Test cricket has always been a spectacle, but it's about doing it differently now. So cheers, Rishabh."

Joe Root hailed England's "incredible" display with the bat after he and Jonny Bairstow starred in a historic 378-run chase against India, declaring: "Whatever they get, we'll chase it."

Having resumed at 259-3 before a lively Edgbaston crowd on Tuesday, England raced to their most impressive victory yet under the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime, with Root and Bairstow hitting centuries to complete the highest run chase in the hosts' history and claim a 2-2 draw in the delayed series.

The victory saw England surpass their 359-run chase against Australia in August 2019, as Root made his 28th Test ton in finishing 142 not out.

He and Bairstow registered the highest fourth-wicket partnership in the fourth innings of a men's Test (269), as well as England's fifth-highest fourth-wicket stand in any innings.

Bairstow, meanwhile, also became just the ninth player to hit four Test centuries in England in a calendar year as the home side's entertainers continued their red-ball revival.

England also recorded three successive chases of over 250 runs in their series whitewash of world champions New Zealand last time out, and Root says the team's fearlessness with the bat left them feeling in control throughout day five.

"It was pretty fun doing it. Throughout the whole summer, from that first game, we've said, 'whatever they get, we'll chase it'," Root told Sky Sports. "Ben said to us before the toss: 'We're not going to bat first, we're going to chase.'

"That's the mentality of how we're going about things at the minute. Once we got that partnership going, we just felt in full control.

"So much credit has to go to the two lads at the top [Alex Lees and Zak Crawley], the way they set the platform, the way they shifted the pressure straight back onto India.

"To smash that new ball around on a wicket that was doing a bit was just incredible batting. It really made the work that we had to do afterwards a lot easier. It really was a sublime partnership against a world-class attack.

"The feeling in the dressing room at the moment is 'whatever you get, we're going for it, and we're going to take it down'."

On a personal level, Root added he was enjoying his cricket again after stepping down as captain in April, saying successor Stokes has instilled a newfound ruthlessness in the side.

"When you're enjoying things it makes it a lot easier, you turn up to practice excited, you get out in the middle, and you're up for the contest," Root added.

"I feel in a really good place and I just need to make sure I maintain that. One thing that's worked for me is just accepting it's a game of failure, batting, and you're not going to get it right every time.

"It was good fun, like I said, there was a little bit on offer, but when you're putting pressure on bowlers it's very difficult for them to keep coming hard at you.

"We recognised crucial parts of pressure, I think we soaked it up well at times in the second innings, and then when we got our chances to put it back on them, we did it.

"We were ruthless with it, something that we might have lacked a bit in recent times – especially under my leadership!"

Centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow carried England to a historic seven-wicket win over India, completing their record-breaking 378-run chase in the first session of day five.

After successful fourth-innings pursuits of 277, 299 and 296 in the whitewash of New Zealand, England required their highest such recovery in Tests to take this rearranged fifth match against India.

But Root (142 not out) and Bairstow (114 no) had done much of the heavy lifting late on Monday at Edgbaston, allowing the home side's imperious duo to charge through Tuesday morning and improve their unbeaten partnership to an outstanding 269.

The successful chase meant England claimed a draw from the delayed 2021 series and won a fourth consecutive Test match since the new Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime took charge of the team.

A night's sleep appeared to have done little to rejuvenate India, who continued the previous evening's themes of rash bowling, poor field placement and regular appeals for a change of ball.

One of those early appeals was successful, but England bludgeoned on regardless, even aided by four leg byes in consecutive Mohammed Shami overs.

A flurry of Root fours brought up his hundred, reaching three figures with a stab at a Mohammed Siraj delivery that skipped over second slip to the boundary.

Root initially maintained control of the strike and the scoring, making Bairstow wait until the 18th over of the day for his century. A single did the job, with Root making his ground in time before a direct hit to celebrate with his team-mate.

And another single, this time from Root, concluded a chase that ultimately became a saunter, cementing England's ability to seemingly match any target with the bat in this thrilling new era.

Bairstow matches Root record – with time for both to break it

'Bazball' has been the making of Bairstow, who now has four centuries in his past five innings – the other an unbeaten 71. That means half of Bairstow's 12 Test hundreds have come in 2022 alone.

That ties the record for the most England Test tons in a calendar year, with Root having matched the six-century achievements of Denis Compton and Michael Vaughan just last year.

With three Tests to come against South Africa next month and more against Pakistan later in the year, Bairstow is well placed to move past six – as is Root, who has five this year.

England Test captains past and present saluted a hugely successful start to a new era after New Zealand were on the end of a 3-0 series whitewash.

Joe Root was replaced as skipper by Ben Stokes ahead of the series but maintained a key role against the Black Caps and was named England's player of the series.

He was far from alone in standing out, though, and far from alone in enjoying himself, as England became the first Test team to chase down 250 three times in a single series.

The third win was completed at a canter on day five at Headingley, with Root joined in the middle by the destructive Jonny Bairstow, illustrating a complete shift from what had gone before.

Prior to Root – the world's top-ranked batsman – giving up the captaincy, England had just one win in 17 Tests.

"One of the great things about this series was guys keep getting more and more confident, more and more at ease with how they want to go about things," Root said.

"It's such fun to play in and be part of. For Ben to start as he has under Brendon [McCullum, the new head coach] as well, we're all loving playing it; it's great.

"It's important that we enjoy this series win. It has been a rocky road for the Test team for a little while now, and if you can't enjoy a series like this, then what do you play for?"

Those words would be music to Stokes' ears, with results secondary to the enjoyment of his team, he says.

"For me, when I took over this job, it was more than results; it was about changing the mindset of the lads towards Test cricket, about having fun and enjoying the fact you're out there representing your country, and the results will look after themselves," Stokes said.

"But to say that we have done it so quickly is just unbelievable.

"I can only do so much; I've got to show a huge amount of credit to Brendon and the way that he's came in and influenced this group as well, the backroom staff and everyone else who's played a part in the series as well – it's been absolutely phenomenal."

Stokes described this series as "a pretty special start" and picked out the third Test as his highlight, impressed England did not "come back into our shell" when they were 55-6 in their first innings.

Those bad habits have been forgotten, it seems, and Root was not interested in reflecting on what had gone wrong during his tenure.

"I think we should leave what's happened where it is," he said. "I think we should concentrate on looking at what this team has done over the last few weeks.

"What Ben's done has been brilliant in these three games, and I'm sure he'll have a plan for the next series and this game against India as well.

"As I say, I'm absolutely loving being a part of it all at the moment. Long may it continue."

That India match concludes a series that was started last year with Root at the helm, but Stokes intends to attack it in the same manner England did world Test champions New Zealand.

The new skipper added: "It's obviously completely different opposition and we've still got a series to try to draw, but we'll be thinking about us, and trust me when I say this: we'll be coming out with exactly the same mindset."

England concluded a series whitewash of New Zealand in fashion befitting the rest of the primitive Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era.

The new captain-coach combo have inspired England to three relentlessly entertaining Test displays – and now three wins, after Joe Root (86 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (71 no) clinched a seven-wicket victory on day five at Headingley.

England chased down 277 in the first Test and 299 in the second, and the target of 296 in Leeds never looked beyond them as they resumed on 183-2.

Rain delayed the start of play until after lunch on Monday, and Stokes' side quickly lost Ollie Pope (82) to a beauty from Tim Southee, but Bairstow picked up where he left off in his previous two innings (136 at Trent Bridge, 162 at Headingley).

His partnership with Root passed 50 inside 39 balls – the two Yorkshiremen thrilling a home crowd – but Bairstow was scoring at a far faster rate than his former captain.

Soon enough, he reached the half-century himself from just 30 deliveries – the second-quickest 50 by an England Test batsman.

Having squandered two reviews on Sunday attempting to remove Root, Kane Williamson's third went when Bairstow was caught off his forearm, rather than his glove. The batter was never concerned and swiftly resumed his assault on the New Zealand attack.

Fittingly, Bairstow finished with a four and then a six, with victory over the world Test champions wrapped up a little over an hour after the belated start.

Blistering Bairstow only behind Botham

No England player has profited as much as Bairstow from the freedom afforded him by Stokes and McCullum, with each knock seemingly better than the last.

There was little pressure on this occasion, with plenty of time and wickets in hand, and Bairstow fell agonisingly short of a long-standing Ian Botham record – his 28-ball half-century against India in 1981 briefly within reaching distance when Bairstow sent his 27th ball over the rope to reach 46.

A dot ball and a single followed before Bairstow passed 50 with his sixth four, to go with two maximums, after just 42 minutes.

India up next after unprecedented success

England have only until Friday before their next Test against India, but there will be few complaints, with the team quickly finding their rhythm under new leadership and relishing every new challenge.

India might be tempted to put England in to bat, for no target looks beyond Stokes' men when behind; they are the first Test team to chase down 250 three times in a single series.

England require 113 runs with eight wickets in hand on the final day of the Headingley Test against New Zealand as they bid to complete a series sweep.

Another entertaining match between the sides continued on Sunday, as the tourists – resuming on 168-5 in their second innings – were bowled out for 326, courtesy of Jack Leach's first 10-wicket Test haul.

That set England a target of 296 – a significant score but not even the largest Ben Stokes' newly confident side have chased down in this series.

And they will resume in a commanding position on day five, with Ollie Pope (81 not out) and Joe Root (55 no) firmly set and within sight of victory on 183-2.

The latest century stand between Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell – their fourth of the series – had earlier appeared to swing momentum back in New Zealand's favour following the late flurry of wickets on Saturday.

But that three-hour, 252-ball stand was ended with the Black Caps on 274-5. Four balls after Blundell (88 no) was saved by DRS, Matthew Potts (3-66) rapped Mitchell on the knee roll to see him depart lbw for 56.

Leach (5-66) took over from there, soon accounting for Michael Bracewell and then both Tim Southee and Neil Wagner in the same over.

When his second five-for of the match was completed bowling to Trent Boult, England – who replaced Ben Foakes with COVID substitute Sam Billings – had a realistic shot at victory.

Those hopes were dented when Zak Crawley's cover drive was cut off by Kane Williamson, who brilliantly picked out Boult to remove the stumps with Alex Lees well short.

Crawley (25) was perhaps at fault for that run-out and was caught by Williamson soon after, but Pope and Root steadied the ship, each passing 50 with an array of superb shots late in the day.

Root leading latest chase

If England complete the job on Monday, they will become the first team in Test history to successfully chase a target of at least 250 three times in a single series.

The hosts have made a habit of digging deep and entertaining in equal measure in this series, best epitomised by Root's knock, in which he survived hopeful-at-best Williamson reviews from consecutive balls and then got to work – the highlight a remarkable reverse-scoop for six.

Brilliant Blundell

Blundell became the highest-scoring visiting wicketkeeper in a Test series in England, this time doing the heavy lifting opposite regular partner Mitchell.

The pair have scored over half of the tourists' runs across the three matches.

England star Joe Root has returned to the top of the ICC men's Test batting rankings, displacing Australia's Marnus Labuschagne.

Root has enjoyed a brilliant 2022, posting his fourth red-ball international century of the year against New Zealand in the second Test.

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

The Yorkshire batter would go on to make 176 in the first innings, hitting 26 fours – the most recorded in an innings by an English batter since Zak Crawley hit 34 in his 267 versus Pakistan in 2020.

That helped England to an unassailable 2-0 series lead over the World Test champions New Zealand, after Jonny Bairstow scored the second-fastest red-ball century for his country on Tuesday.

Root's second century of the series came after his heroics at Lord's, in which he passed 10,000 Test runs with a majestic unbeaten 115, his first fourth-innings international hundred.

The 31-year-old, who stepped down from captaining England in April, has been rewarded with top spot in the world Test batting rankings as he reached the summit for the first time since December 2021.

Labuschagne has dropped down to second, with Australia team-mate Steve Smith in third, while Pakistan captain Babar Azam and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson make up the top five.

Black Caps number five Daryl Mitchell has also enjoyed a big rise up the rankings after his 190 and 69 not out in the second Test against England, jumping from 50th to 17th.

Meanwhile, in the bowling ratings Australia captain Pat Cummins remains top ahead of India's Ravichandran Ashwin, whose team-mate Jasprit Bumrah is in third.

That is due to Kyle Jamieson dropping three places down to sixth, with Pakistan quick Shaheen Afridi and South Africa star Kagiso Rabada moving up a place to fourth and fifth respectively.

James Anderson picked up his 650th Test wicket as England set up a push for victory in the second Test with New Zealand.

Joe Root set the tone on Monday by reverse scooping his second ball against Tim Southee for six, with England looking to score quickly to overturn an 80-run deficit.

Root fell on 176 shortly after, caught at cover off Trent Boult's bowling, while Stuart Broad (nine) followed to Michael Bracewell and Ben Foakes was run out after posting 56.

Boult completed his 10th five-wicket Test haul by bowling Matthew Potts (three) before Bracewell (3-62) dismissed Anderson (nine), with England all out for 539 – only trailing by 14 runs.

Anderson made a bright start as Tom Latham (four) left a straight one to hand the seamer his landmark dismissal, before Will Young and Devon Conway steadied the ship.

Conway's resistance ended when he fell for 52, caught attempting to sweep Jack Leach (1-78), before Henry Nicholls (three) directed a wide Potts ball to Alex Lees at gully.

England were boosted when a mix-up saw Young (56) run out, which brought Tom Blundell together with Daryl Mitchell, the pair who shared 236 in the first innings.

Blundell was then caught off a Stuart Broad (1-53) bouncer on 24, while Bracewell made a brisk 25 before being removed by Potts (2-32) and Southee (nought) was another to be needlessly run out.

Mitchell finished unbeaten on 32 alongside Matt Henry (eight not out), with New Zealand on 224-7, leading by 238 to tee up an enticing final day where all four results are possible. 

Awesome Anderson

Anderson shows no sign of relenting in the twilight days of his incredible career, picking up his 650th scalp in red-ball internationals.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708), both spinners, have taken more Test wickets than the England seamer across his 19-year international career.

Sorry Southee

Unlike the excellent Boult, who posted 5-106, seaming partner Southee struggled in Nottingham. He failed to grab a wicket from his 32 overs, bowling just one maiden and conceding 154 runs.

Southee became just the fifth New Zealand bowler to concede 150-plus runs without a wicket in an innings, while his wicketless figures were the most expensive in a men's Test match at Trent Bridge.

Impressive centuries from Ollie Pope and Joe Root helped England close in on New Zealand's imposing first innings total on day three of the second Test at Trent Bridge.

The pair put on a third-wicket partnership of 187 as the hosts closed on 473-5, still 80 runs shy of the tourists.

Alex Lees and Pope picked up where they left off from day two as Lees reached his maiden Test half-century in his ninth innings, before he edged a Matt Henry (1-128) delivery to Daryl Mitchell for 67.

Root arrived and did not hesitate in building his own big partnership with Pope, not just piling on runs but doing so at pace.

The former England captain followed up his match-winning ton at Lord's with another 100 here, with this one being the fastest of his illustrious career, coming from just 116 balls.

Pope was finally out for 145 after top-edging a hook shot up in the air off Trent Boult (3-89), which Henry caught well diving forward.

A successful review against Jonny Bairstow (eight) saw him back to the pavilion after ultra edge showed a very slight spike as a Boult delivery passed his glove, with skipper Stokes next in, blasting 46 from 33 balls before hitting Michael Bracewell straight into the waiting hands of Boult.

Ben Foakes (24 not out) steadied things as he and Root (163 not out) looked to move closer to New Zealand's total with an unbroken partnership of 68, leaving the Test match tantalisingly poised heading into day four.

Welcome to the McCullum and Stokes era

With Brendon McCullum arriving as head coach of England's Test side with Stokes as captain, it was always likely to lead to more excitement.

It was therefore not all that surprising to see England finally getting Test runs, scoring 383 on the day, while also going at a potent run rate of 4.14 across the innings so far.

Three could be magic number for Pope

Pope had never even batted above four in the order until the first Test at Lord's, where he scored 17 in his two innings coming in at three.

However, he looked every bit the option McCullum will want in that role during this knock, which included three sixes, and will have pleased Root in particular, who would much rather stay in his favoured role at four.

Ben Stokes heaped praise on the "brave" Joe Root for speaking openly about his England Test captaincy struggles as he backed the in-form batter to keep piling on the runs.

Root stepped down from his role as skipper of the red-ball side after a series defeat in West Indies following a run of just one win in their past 17 Tests.

Stokes was appointed as his successor, while Brendon McCullum took over as head coach after the dismissal of Chris Silverwood.

The new era got off to a great start, with Root scoring a majestic unbeaten 115 to pass 10,000 runs in Test cricket and help England to a five-wicket victory over New Zealand last Sunday.

Root admitted after that knock, his first international without the captaincy, that the extra responsibility had started to negatively impact his private life.

Stokes says the former skipper has a spring back in his step.

"I went through that whole ride with Joe, especially over the last two years. We had some private conversations on tours away around that kind of stuff," Stokes told reporters.

"I'm sure everybody knows, being England captain is more than just what you do out on the field. You can end up taking it home and it can affect your personal situation – which Joe was very brave to say.

"This week, without that added pressure of being captain, it was almost like Joe was 18 again. And I'm pretty sure it won't be long till he's snipping people's socks again.

"It's great to see Joe the way that he is. It's great that he doesn't have that mountain of added pressure of being captain on his shoulders.

"And the one thing Joe always does is score runs."

Stokes also hopes England can ride the wave under McCullum and secure an unassailable 2-0 lead by winning the second Test, which starts at Trent Bridge on Friday.

"First time out winning a series would obviously be good," he added. "It's going to be a long road with the way that we have changed mindset. I know there's going to be some ups and some downs.

"We're on a big up after winning last week, but we've just got to try and take everything as it comes, because who knows what this week will have in store for us."

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