Pundits laud England's old-school Root for patient century against India - GulfToday

Pundits laud England's old-school Root for patient century against India


Joe Root celebrates after scoring a century as his teammate Ollie Robinson (R) watches at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium in Ranchi on Friday. AFP

England's Joe Root was roundly praised after becoming the first batsman to make 10 Test centuries against India after departing from his team's attacking strategy and back to more conservative cricket.

Root made an unbeaten 122 as he lifted England from a precarious 112-5 to 353 at stumps after they elected to bat first in the fourth Test in Ranchi.

The former captain returned to form after managing just 77 runs in his previous six innings and weathering criticism for his dismissal off a misjudged reverse scoop in England's loss in the third Test.

Root put on 113 runs for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes (47) as the two remained uncharacteristically patient, a step away from England's attacking "Bazball" style.

"A really good day for England and a masterful hundred from England's best player in Joe Root," former captain Michael Vaughan told TNT Sports. "This was the day England played the situation perfectly."

Fellow ex-captain Nasser Hussain said on Sky Sports that Root's innings was "an absolute pleasure to watch." "You don't keep a great player down and Joe Root is definitely a great player, arguably one of England's greatest if not England's greatest-ever batter," he said.

"I saw a steely toughness in his eye today, whether he was stung by the criticism he received for some of the shots he has played or whether it's actually Joe himself wanted to contribute more."

'Phenomenal knock'

Root came out at the fall of Ollie Pope's wicket for a duck and witnessed Zak Crawley get bowled on 42 before he got down to the grind with Jonny Bairstow, another batsman to struggle this series.

England soon lost Bairstow for 38 and then skipper Ben Stokes at the stroke of lunch but Root remained determined in his 226-ball stay, which witnessed just one reverse sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin.

"This is the Joe Root mode that win you Test matches!" South African great AB de Villiers wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Root reached his 31st Test ton with a boundary off debutant fast bowler Akash Deep — who captured three wickets in the first hour of play — and took off his helmet and raised his bat in a muted celebration. "Phenomenal knock," Crawley said after the day's play.

"He's probably the only bloke in our team who could have done that knock. He's that good, he's our best player and he's stepped up when we needed him to," he said. "We needed him to get a score and he got a score like he's done for so many years now, he's a phenomenal player."

Root made 11,493 Test runs in his 138 previous matches, with an average of close to 50, since his debut in 2012. Root is now ahead of former Australia captain Steve Smith, who has nine career Test centuries against India.

Agence France-Presse



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