Joe Root – Leading the way for his side when the chips are down

England cricket team has certainly taken giant strides in limited-overs cricket since their debacle in the 2015 World Cup. However, the same can’t be said about their Test team. The Three Lions are known to take a lot of pride in taking the longest format of the game and their annual calendar is also dominated by red-ball matches. In fact, England have played 85 Test matches since 2015, most for any team.

However, they have won just 38 games in this period which is not staggering by any means. Not having a formidable line-up has been the biggest reason behind England’s downfall in the purest format. Nevertheless, one man who has been leading the way for England amid every challenge is skipper Joe Root.

Joe Root and the tale of performing against odds

Root has been a cornerstone of the side ever since making his debut in the format in 2012. While the veteran has scored runs in all conditions, his best seems to get unleashed when the odds are against him. Time and again, Root has rescued the Three Lions when the opposition seems to be in total command. After all, there’s a reason he is a member of the ‘Fab Four.’

With Root batting at number four, he has been subjected to different challenges. In case of a top-order collapse, the right-handed batter has played the role of a virtual opener. At times, he is also required to score runs at a quick pace and Root has thrived in that role as well. Owing to the same, the Yorkshire-born batter has been one of the few constants in England’s flimsy Test batting line-up in the past few years.

Root’s hundred against India in the recently-concluded Test at Trent Bridge perfectly shows what the star batter is made up of. The visitors earned a handy 95-run lead in the first innings and were cruising. Moreover, England lost two quick wickets in the second innings. However, Root walked in and put up an exhibition of high-class batting.

Despite losing partners from the other end, Root kept going and ended up scoring 109 off 172 balls. Notably, England’s second-highest run-scorer in that innings was Sam Curran, who scored 32 runs. This shows under what conditions Root got that hundred. It also speaks volumes of his mental grit and tendency to defy the odds.

At 30, Root is already a veteran of over 100 Test matches, and a lot of fire is still left in his tank. Hence, bowlers all around must gear up to tackle this one-man army. At the same time, the England team management and national selectors must focus on strengthening the Test side’s batting order.

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