Decoding Joe Root's best Test knocks as captain
On Thursday, England cricketer Joe Root hung up his boots as a captain in Tests. However, the batting maestro will continue to be the backbone of England's Test XI. Root, who has pummelled 5,295 runs as a captain in Tests, has plenty of memorable knocks in his kitty. Here, we decode his best knocks as a captain in red-ball cricket.
Root came all guns blazing against SA on his captaincy debut in Tests. Unlike his compatriots, Root didn't budge from the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Kagiso Rabada. Not before he smashed 190, striking in excess of 80. Root joined fellow English greats Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook to have struck hundreds on their Test captaincy debut.
Root couldn't have asked for a better start to the year. On a wicket that was turning square in Pallekele, Root notched a jaw-dropping 228 in response to SL's 135 in the first innings of the first Test. He hammered 18 fours and a six. What's striking is how six English batters were removed for single-digit scores while Root was enjoying his rhythm.
Arguably a knock for the ages, Root became the first cricketer in Tests to score a double ton in his 100th Test. He rendered a lip-smacking 218 off 377 deliveries in Chennai. Root toyed with the hosts' bowling attack that comprised ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ishant Sharma. The knock set the foundation for England's 227-run win versus Kohli's men.
Trailing the two-match series 1-0, it was a must-win affair for England to save their pride in New Zealand. At Seddon Park, Root clocked the second-highest score by an Englishman in Tests played in NZ. He whammed a colossal 226 to NZ's 375, giving the visitors a lead by 101 runs. New Zealand, however, drew the game and pocketed the series.
England had never won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 2001. However, that was to change with Root at the helm. He exhibited a batting master-class in the second Test in Pallekele. Trailing by 46 runs, the then-skipper churned out 124 while striking at 84.94 to set a target of 301 for the hosts. England eventually scripted a 57-run win over SL.