For Joe Root, his three-match old Test captaincy career has been nothing short of a roller-coaster.
After being lauded for his stunning 190-run knock on his captaincy debut that paved the way for England’s 211-run win in the first Test against South Africa, the newly-appointed skipper realised how tough it is to lead a side when South Africa inflicted a humiliating 340-run defeat on the hosts.
As expected, the defeat drew widespread criticism with some former players even questioning the England players’ desire to play Tests.
However, Joe Root & Co. has managed to give a fitting reply by winning the third Test by a whopping margin of 239 runs against the Proteas to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. Barring the early collapse in the first innings, England dominated the game throughout before Moeen Ali’s hat-trick ended the match in a best-possible manner.
Chasing an improbable 492, South Africa never looked in contention and were eventually bowled out for 252.
Speaking after the match, Root said:
“It’s been a great week for us. What a way to celebrate hundredth Test on this ground. We got the tempo and scored runs in the first innings. Very crucial, in these conditions we could have been easily 4-5 down. But the way he (Cook) played, it was exceptional. We don’t make excuses, we are always looking to improve.”
Root further said debutant Tom Westley would have liked to score some more runs. The Essex batsman scored 25 and 50 in the match. Root also praised another debutant Toby Roland-Jones whose five-wicket haul in the first innings paved the way for England’s big win.
“He would have liked to score a few more runs but that can happen in Test cricket. It’s great to see him (Roland-Jones) come in and take to Test cricket like a duck to water. I think it is important to look at the wickets and make decisions,” he said.
Ben Stokes was adjudged the Man of the Match for his stunning century in the first innings. Speaking about the 112-run knock, the England all-rounder said:
“It was hard to bat early on. It was difficult, especially with Vernon Philander. It is pleasing when you get through those hard times and then get some runs. I always try and play my cricket in the same way. Look to be positive. I asked Joe if it was sliding down, there were two sounds as well (on Moeen Ali’s hat-trick wicket). Credit to Elgar as well the way he played. The last spell I bowled at Trent Bridge was a confidence booster. We start again on Friday, we will want to do the same.”