Before the series, England were in a turmoil about whom to promote at number three in the batting position as their previous number three batsman Nick Compton decided to take an indefinite break from the game. Joe Root, one of England’s most consistent batsman over the past couple of years, was given the responsibility to fill that void and one can say that he is doing a commendable job. Playing his second match at that position, the right-handed batsman scored a brilliant 254 in the second Test at Old Trafford. The knock, that was studded with 27 hits to the boundary, lasted for more than 10 hours as he helped England to post a mammoth first innings total of 589 before declaring.
“It was very satisfying, very pleasing to finally go and make one count,” he said at the end of the second day’s play on Saturday (July 23).
“It’s very nice to get a big score early on batting at three, and I hope it’s the first of a few,” Root said.
The incredible innings came after two humble innings during the first Test at Lord’s.
Talking about the knock, Root said: “They were poor dismissals (at Lord’s), and I’ve worked very hard this week to try and take them out of my game — and given the opportunity, to make it count.
That’s why I was so revved up when I got to 200, because it was a lot of hard work paying off.”
After losing Alex Hales cheaply, Root along with captain Alastair Cook added 185 runs for the second wickets. He further shared big partnerships with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes too. Root insisted that big partnerships have helped England to take a strong grip on the match.
“More than anything, I thought the way we continued to build partnerships … to take the game away from Pakistan, was exactly what we needed to do. It could have been very easy for us to lose a couple of early wickets and let them back into the game.
“But Chris played outstandingly well this morning, and then the guys who came in afterwards continued that,” he added.
Apart from Root, Cook also played a brilliant innings as he hit his 29th century of his Test career which saw him drew level with Sir Don Bradman. Chris Woakes, who was England’s best performer in the last Test, continued his good work with the bat and ball. After scoring 58 with the bat, the all-rounder took three quick wickets to leave the visitors reeling at 57 for 4.
Talking about Woakes, Root said: “He’s been outstanding this summer, and it’s great to see. It just shows where he is with his game at the moment, coming to Cookie last night and saying ‘I want to do the nightwatchman, I want to get out there and play’. It’s great to have guys in the squad taking responsibility and wanting to stick their hand up and make a statement to the team and the opposition.”