Joe Root on Saturday became the first England batsman to score five Test hundreds in a season. In the first innings of the ongoing second Test against India, Root registered an unbeaten 180 to hand England a slender lead. What may be the reason behind Root’s staggering success this year, one may ask? Former captain Mike Atherton spells out the answers.
Atherton remarked that Root’s “incredible work” during the Covid-19 enforced lockdown last year is paying rich dividends. Root struck his second consecutive century to pile more misery on the Indian bowlers.
“I think this is a reward for some incredible work he did in lockdown. It came at a time when he was 29 and had already had a fantastic career,” Atherton told ‘Sky Sports’.
“But it just gave him an opportunity to rest, where he’s said ‘I’ve got the second half of my career to come and I can go from being a very, very fine player to one of the all-time greats’,” he added.
With the century, Root crossed the 9,000 run mark in the format. He had started the year with double hundreds in the away series against Sri Lanka and India.
“He asked the analyst to send him every dismissal from the last five years or so, looked at it in great detail and tried to work out where he could go from there. He’s reaping the rewards of that.”
Atherton said Root has been able to brilliantly compartmentalize his two duties — as a captain and as a batsman.
“He’s Joe Root the batsman, not Joe Root the captain burdened by expectation and pressure and he’s playing with great freedom.”
At stumps on Day 3, England were bowled out for 391, meaning that India will go into bat trailing by 27 runs. Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors, returning with figures of 4 for 94 in 30 overs. Ishant Sharma bagged three wickets, while Mohammed Shami picked two.
(With PTI inputs)