HomeCricketJoe Root: A Class Above The Rest, But Conversion...

Joe Root: A Class Above The Rest, But Conversion Issue Looms Large

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England took a minor handy lead against Pakistan, but are still in danger of missing out on the first Test. The hosts rallied through fifties from Joe Root (68), Jos Buttler (66*) and Dominic Bess (55*).
Pakistan, at one stage, had the game in their pocket, but a late rally from England somewhat calmed the ship. One would have expected Root to continue playing through, but he missed out after playing so strongly for the majority of first two sessions.
England are at 235/6 and have a 56-run lead over Pakistan, who ended at 363 in the morning session. At tea, England were staring at a woeful defeat, but Buttler and Bess, both revelling in the chance to show their worth.The duo calmly restored order by batting throughout the final session in an unbeaten stand of 125.
The talk of the innings was Root’s defiant 68 as the player once again showed how valuable he is for the side. Let’s have a look at the England captain’s Test situation.

Root impresses despite surroundings

Root, who played an awful drive off a loose ball in the first innings, to purchase a knick, looked to have learned from his mistake. He compiled a gritty half-century that was blended with deft touches and flicks. The rest crumbled around him, but the English skipper batted along. The crucial partnership between Root and Dawid Malan helped England add 60 runs for the third wicket.
Root’s innings was laced with eight boundaries as he started off patiently against an in-form Pakistani pace quartet. The new ball was doing its bit and Alastair Cook departed quickly. Root was watchful and his vision to stand tall was a crucial factor for the hosts. He got his runs in 120 balls before Mohammad Abbas got him trapped LBW.
Prior to that, a deft late cut against Mohammad Amir took Root to his 50. That was his 40th fifty in Tests. Some of his shots and the composure in them showed why he is a class above the rest in this England side.

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Runs vital for Root after poor county stint

After quite a mixed show with the bat, Root wanted to prepare for the County stint with a lot of vigour. But Root’s brief return to county colours before the international summer yielded scores of 0, 35, 14 and 23. Having said that, there was a moment of doubt that must have crept in his mind.
He left the stint disappointed after captaining Yorkshire to one loss and a win. The preparations did not go as planned in the build-up to the Pakistan Test. But this innings showed he is there to rectify things and be amongst the thick of the action.

Conversion Question Looms Large

The mini collapse started post Root’s dismissal as England went from being 91/3 to 110/6. They lost four wickets for 19 runs. Root at 68, fell to the momentum that Pakistan created post the runs added by the former and Malan. England was 69 runs away from Pak’s lead at that moment. The mountain suddenly seemed much steeper.
Root has now gone ten Tests without a ton. He has scored 10 half-centuries in this period. Although the player has shown his class at times, the conversion issues have not left him.  For England’s point of view, they needed their skipper to bat through the entire day, but once again that couldn’t materialize.
A defiant hundred is need of the hour for Root, which in turn could give him a lot of confidence. But its become a familiar story that after batting for long periods and getting to commendable fifties, the big chunk of the piece has eluded him.
One thing that has continued to separate him from the other ‘Fab Three’ is getting to big hundreds. England hasn’t quite found that of late and that, in turn, has been a reason for them not to have set the standards one would desire. Root as a skipper needs to chip in as England’s main asset and one will be hoping that he gets going sooner than later.
Root’s last ten Tests – 

  1. England vs West Indies – 59 and 72
  2. England vs West Indies – 1 and DNB
  3. Australia vs England – 15 and 51
  4. Australia vs England – 9 and 67
  5. Australia vs England – 20 and 14
  6. Australia vs England – 61 and DNB
  7. Australia vs England – 83 and 58
  8. New Zealand vs England – 0 and 51
  9. New Zealand vs England – 37 and 54
  10. England vs Pakistan – 4 and 68

India will be watching Root’s progression

When Virat Kohli’s side tours England in July, their focus will be Root when the Test series starts from August 1 onwards. Seeing England and him play since the Ashes, there will be plenty of hope for India. But they know that Root – time and time again has batted wonderfully to handle pressure. But going by what we have all seen is that India need to be patient and consistent while bowling to Root.
They know that they will be getting that space where he is bound to lose concentration and that’s when the strike factor could come to place.

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