When Joe Root tapped Jasprit Bumrah for a quick single in the 82nd over, he rose his seventh Test ton against India. And kept his arms afloat. And kept them in the air for long to soak in the thunderous applause that he received from the Lord’s crowd on day three of the second Test.
Root has been in the form of his life in 2021. He started the year with a sensational double ton in Sri Lanka and followed it up with 186 in the second Test. He, then, flew to India and put on a batting masterclass in Chennai and scored another double ton.
It was a dream start of 2021 for Root, who has been scrutinized in the past for not converting his starts into match-winning knocks. The following five Tests saw him not crossing the fifty-run mark even once before scoring a fifty in the Nottingham Test. The same Test saw him scoring the fourth Test ton of the year and India were at the receiving end once again.
Root admitted he had to work on his technique before coming into the Test series against India. And it was visible in his run-scoring spree in the three innings that he has played so far versus India. But there was something different about his most recent hundred. He looked in control throughout the innings while Indian bowlers kept looking for his edge, which never arrived.
Root dominated Indian bowlers throughout the day and single-handedly kept England in the hunt of India’s first innings total. In the meantime, he notched up seventh Test ton against India and, now, is only behind Gary Sobers, Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting and Steve Smith who all have scored eight Test hundreds against India.
England skipper also breached the 9000-Test run mark as well and became only the second English batsman after Alastair Cook. Records kept tumbling during Root’s masterclass at Lord’s, where his name will be put on the honours board for the fourth time. And 180* is his lowest three-digit score at the home of cricket.
It was Root alone who kept the Indian bowlers at bay by denying to give his wicket. Jonny Bairstow with 57 runs is the second-best scorer of the innings behind Root’s unbeaten 180. And this gulf shows how Root is head and shoulders above the rest of the England batsmen.
India, desperately, need to find the answers to the questions Root has raised. Else, Virat Kohli’s wait to win a Test series in England will not end this time.
Joe Root’s Stats
Written by— Aditya Pratap Arya