Joe Root
Root went to his 12th century to thrust England away from danger. Getty Images

Joe Root marked his debut as England captain with his 12th century as South Africa were made to toil on day one of the first Test at Lord's. The Yorkshire batsman finished the day unbeaten on 184 as the hosts smashed 357 for 5.

Vernon Philander had reduced them to 76 for 4 with three wickets but the Proteas enjoyed little joy thereafter with successive century partnerships putting England in charge. Root put on 114 with Ben Stokes [56] and an unbroken 162 with Moeen Ali [60 not out].

And the headlines very much belonged to Root – who was dropped on eight by JP Duminy and then escaped being stumped on 149 off a no-ball – who quelled any fears his leadership of the team would hinder his batting prowess as he struck a fine century with aplomb. An injury-hit South Africa, led by Dean Elgar in the absence of Faf du Plessis, will be frustrated at how they let England off the hook having left them teetering in the first session.

Openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings were both dismissed inside the first six overs by the accurate Philander, whose medium pace was causing England plenty of problems on a green surface. The recalled Gary Ballance soon followed, making just 20 after unsuccessfully reviewing an lbw decision off Morne Morkel.

Root escaped joining the trio as Kagiso Rabada was denied his first wicket and the miss eventually proved costly. He and Stokes combined stubborn defence with rare bouts of attack to keep England competitive come lunch, before they launched into South Africa's one-dimensional attack.

Stokes – who had earlier escaped being bowled off a no-ball – needlessly top-edged to Quentin de Kock after going to his half century but Root became the sixth England captain to go to three figures in their first game as skipper. He followed the likes of Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss in reaching the landmark – but he wasn't done there.

The 26-year-old continued on the offensive alongside Moeen Ali (61) and built a second successive century stand to push England beyond 300 and into a position of complete command. For South Africa the emotions were completely contrasting having let England wriggle away from an early meltdown, much down to their own shortcomings.