On a placid wicket, Root and Pope held control over a disciplined New Zealand attack, slowly accumulating runs to ensure a first-innings lead and then picking up the pace to build the advantage as their once faint hope of forcing a victory started to look more real.
England and Middlesex bowler Steven Finn was impressed by the display, saying: "Even from the beginning of Root's innings, you could see he meant business".
Jeet Raval, who has scored only 24 runs in the series, was lbw to Sam Curran for a two-ball duck, although replays suggested there was an inside edge.
Realistically, a combination of the lack of a mammoth lead, wet weather, shortening time and New Zealand's best two batsmen in the nation's test history won't allow Root's charges to win the second test in Hamilton on Tuesday.
On a flat pitch, the bowlers had to struggle to achieve success.
The couple came forward with more positive intention in the afternoon session, running fast between the wickets and when Pope had raised his half century, the focus shifted to Root as the English skipper that he struck on a double barrel.
"Once I got in I had the bit between my teeth and wanted to make a big one".
"If we can make an early breakthrough, it could get us on a bit of a wicket train, because they're such key figures in their batting line-up", said Root.
"I was lucky enough to get the rewards". "I have never felt like it has been far away".
"We have done what we can in terms of getting ahead and trying to force a result in our favour", said Root.