England skipper Joe Root said that playing white-ball cricket against Sri Lanka last month helped him in regaining his batting rhythm. The 30-year-old scored a magnificent century on Saturday, August 7, to keep his team’s hopes alive in the first Test against India at Trent Bridge.
It was three years ago when Root last scored a Test century at home – 125 against India at The Oval on their last trip in 2018. While he has been England’s leading Test batsman over the years, the long drought at home was certainly a worry. However, on Saturday, the right-hander brought up his 21st Test hundred, helping England set a 209-run target for India in the fourth innings.
Root fondly looked back at the two unbeaten half-centuries he had scored in the ODI series against Sri Lanka last month and stated that those two outings helped him immensely ahead of the Test series, where he apparently found his ‘rhythm’ back.
“It would be nice to have some red-ball cricket coming into this game but, from my point of view, playing 50-over cricket gave me some rhythm back in my batting.” Root said at the end of the fourth day’s play.
England’s No.4 walked into bat with his team still 49 runs behind India in their second innings. He looked steady in his approach and unleashed some sublime cover-drives during his 172-ball stay. His 109 propelled England to an eventual score of 303, on a day when no other batsman crossed 32. The Yorkshire batsman believes that his sixth Test century against India had put his side in with a good chance to win the game.
“It felt pretty good to get a big score and get us into position to give us a chance of winning this Test,” Root said
The 30-year-old did not have a best of series’ against New Zealand at the start of the home summer. Thereafter, he made several changes to his batting and has now reaped the awards.
“More than anything, up from New Zealand (Lord’s Test) I’ve changed a few things. I felt I got forward and back better,” Root reflected on his technique. “I was standing a lot taller a lot earlier, picking my bat up a lot earlier, I feel like I’ve got rhythm back in my hands. I find 50-over cricket can be a massive help to my red-ball game.”
On Saturday, the right-hander survived a couple of close lbw shouts while into his 90s, before striking a glorious on-drive off Shardul Thakur to get to the three-figure mark. He admitted that there were a few anxious moments at the time, during his time in the 90s, chasing the elusive century.
“The 5-10 minutes leading into getting the hundred was a bit hairy as well, so there was probably a bit of relief,” he said. “As always you’d want more runs to play with, there’s no doubt about that, but you’ve seen throughout this whole game there’s been times when clusters of wickets have fallen and the game’s really flipped on its head.”
Root put on a crucial 37-run stand for the seventh wicket with Sam Curran to extend England’s lead towards 200. It was during this passage when Mohammad Siraj tried to unsettle Curran with some short-pitched stuff and a bit of verbal banter. The skipper opened up about the incident.
“I had quite a nice conversation with him. He told me how well he was bowling and I agreed.”