Centurion Root impressed by Stokes' England captaincy

By Sports Desk February 25, 2023

Joe Root was in the mood to gush about the talents of his successor as England captain, Ben Stokes, after his own "solid contribution" helped put the tourists in a strong position in the second Test in New Zealand.

England started day two on 315-3, adding another quickfire 120 before declaring on 435-8, with Root unbeaten on 153.

The bowlers were able to reduce New Zealand to 138-7 before rain stopped play, with James Anderson and Jack Leach taking three wickets each.

There had been some surprise when Stokes called the declaration immediately after Root passed 150, but it allowed England time to claim the two early wickets of Devon Conway and Kane Williamson before lunch.

"I think it was a brilliant call from Ben," Root said. "It felt like that 40 minutes before the break, the sun was out and with 40 minutes of sun, a heavy roller and 40 minutes of sun at lunch, it might have changed the wicket.

"It didn't work out like that, it gave a better opportunity to make the most of the conditions. The way we're playing at the minute with the confidence we've got, seeing the ball move around with the number one Test bowler [Anderson], the two leading wicket-takers we've ever had [Anderson and Stuart Broad], it just seemed a very brave and attacking option. Full credit to Ben, as you'd expect, for taking it on.

"He's just walked so naturally into the role, he's managing the game really well and everyone is responding to it. I just think was a brilliant call from him, it would have been very easy for us to keep going and we might not be sat here with them seven down tonight. Credit to him, he's doing a great job."

Root's partnership of 302 with Harry Brook (186) was the third-best for the fourth wicket in England Test history, and fell just eight runs shy of the best partnership overseas, behind Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen's 310 in Adelaide in 2006.

"I felt like I owed that to the group," Root said of his 153. "It's been a while since I made a solid contribution. To be part of such a big partnership was really pleasing and I think the best thing was I had the best seat in the house to watch Harry go about his business.

"It's a joy to watch him play at the minute. He certainly made my life a lot easier out there, the way he manages to wrestle momentum in our favour and constantly put bowlers under pressure.

"I felt we had a really good understanding, we negated a few modes of dismissal by getting down the crease. We fed off each quite nicely and made it difficult for them to bowl one length for us."

Related items

  • Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted

    Trent Alexander-Arnold admits England's players agreed with Gary Lineker's controversial description of the Three Lions' Euro 2024 performances as "s***".

    Lineker hit out at England's display in a 1-1 group-stage draw with Denmark on his podcast, The Rest is Football, in comments that attracted a fierce response from captain Harry Kane.

    Kane responded by saying former England players in the media had a "responsibility" when it came to discussing the national team, calling on them to be more supportive.

    Alexander-Arnold, however, says many in the camp agreed with Lineker's criticism and feels some used it as motivation as the Three Lions grew into the tournament, finishing as runners-up to Spain.

    "We had all seen it and heard it and felt it," the Liverpool ace told The Daily Mirror. "We all knew that we could be playing and performing better. 

    "It is never nice for someone to point that out but everyone deep down knew it within ourselves, too.

    "It was something we were already thinking about, we knew we needed to be better. We had to add that to our performances, some players may have used that as motivation."

    England created chances worth just 6.15 expected goals (xG) in their seven games in Germany, with only Scotland (0.32), Serbia (0.7), Slovenia (0.81), Albania (0.82) and Italy (0.84) averaging a lower xG figure per game than their 0.88.

    The Three Lions needed a stoppage-time overhead kick from Jude Bellingham to overcome Slovakia in the last 16, a penalty shoot-out to advance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and a last-minute Ollie Watkins winner to beat the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

    After England's dramatic run ended with a 2-1 final loss to Spain, manager Gareth Southgate announced his resignation following eight years at the helm.

    Alexander-Arnold believes the Three Lions' aim for the 2026 World Cup must be to finally get over the line, promising the squad will give their all for Southgate's successor.

    "Everyone has a high expectation with England now and rightly so, it is true of us as players," he added.

    "We feel we should be winning tournaments, that is the goal and standard we have set ourselves. That will be there for the new manager."

  • England recover from nervy start to lead West Indies by 207 runs England recover from nervy start to lead West Indies by 207 runs

    England took control of the second Test against West Indies as the hosts established a 207-run lead at the close of play on Saturday's third day at Trent Bridge.

    The hosts ended the day on 248-3, aided by two century partnerships from Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, and Joe Root and Harry Brook. Both Brook, on 71, and Root, on 37, will resume batting on Sunday.

    Despite Chris Woakes claiming the wickets of Alzarri Joseph (10) and Jayden Seales (duck) in successive balls, a final-wicket stand of 71 from Shamar Joseph (33) and Joshua da Silva, who was left unbeaten on 82, saw West Indies, who resumed at 351-5, reach 457.

    Scores: England 416 & 248-3 (Duckett 76, Brook 71*, Pope 51, A Joseph 2-58) lead West Indies 457 (Hodge 120, Da Silva 82*, Woakes 4-84) by 207 runs

    England's second innings, which they began 41 runs adrift, got off to a nervy start as opener Zak Crawley (three) was run out by Jayden Seales at the non-striker's end.

    However, much like they did in the first innings, Duckett (76) and Pope (51) settled the hosts down with a 119-run second-wicket stand, before Alzarri Joseph claimed both in the space of eight deliveries.

    Still, Brook and Root also produced an important, unbroken 108-run partnership that placed Ben Stokes' side in command heading into day four.

    Data Debrief: Successive century partnerships for Duckett and Pope

    With a strong finish to their opening innings, the Windies reached 457 - their highest total on English soil since 1995.

    England's response was led by Duckett and Pope's impressive stand of 119, their second three-figure partnership of the series.

    They became only the ninth pair to make two century stands for England in a men's Test, and first since Joe Root and Alistair Cook achieved the feat against Pakistan eight years ago.

  • Pakistan trio denied permission to feature in Global T20 Canada Pakistan trio denied permission to feature in Global T20 Canada

    Babar Azam is among three players denied permission by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play in the forthcoming Global T20 Canada due to workload concerns.

    Fellow all-format players Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi will also be absent from the annual competition, which begins next week.

    Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Nawaz have all been cleared to feature by the PCB, who refused fast bowler Naseem Shah permission to play in The Hundred.

    The governing body say the players' welfare is at the forefront of their decision.

    "After taking into consideration Pakistan's busy and packed cricket calendar... and following consultations with the three players as well as the national selection committee, it has been decided to decline their requests," a statement read.

    "The three are all-format cricketers and their services are expected to be required in the upcoming eight months during which Pakistan will play nine tests, 14 ODIs, and nine T20Is.

    "As such, and in line with the PCB's workload management policy, it is in the best interest of Pakistan cricket and the players that they skip the upcoming event in Canada so that they are in their best mental and physical shape for the season."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.