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The Financial Express

From 'root' to the top


Photo: ICC Photo: ICC

Joe Root flips the ball to mid-wicket; the ball kept running and so did he. Ajaz Patel stopped the ball but couldn’t stop a couple of runs for Root.

A couple of runs to reach his 26th Test century, to reach his 10000th runs, only the 14th player ever and 2nd English player to do so.

The audience at Lords was celebrating, and so was Joe Root. He was jumping and laughing in ecstasy as his name was once again on the Honour’s Board of Lords.

The whole stadium was chanting his name. Among all the noises, “Root, Root, Root” was the only clear one. 

Why wouldn’t they? The crowd of Lords witnessed something like this for the very first time. The crowd of England did so for the 3rd time only (Lara, Cook and Root).

It was a proud moment for the English cricket lovers. Root became only the 2nd English batter to achieve this landmark. He also is the fastest English batter to do so (218 innings), leading Alastair Cook by 11 innings.

He took the shortest time from his debut to reach this landmark. He becomes the joined youngest player along with Alastair Cook to reach this landmark (31 years 157 days).

The best part about his landmark is how he accelerated the gears to reach there. Among the ‘Fab 4’ (Root, Kohli, Williamson and Smith) of cricket, he has been the least praised and hyped one. Most of the experts predicted the other 3 to reach the landmark before him. 

At the beginning of last 2021, none of these 4 reached the 8000 runs mark. Root topped them with a slight advantage. The competition was neck and neck. Then Root started his marvellous acceleration of scoring. 

His record-breaking last year was the hot topic of cricket discussions. He scored 2618 runs since 2020. To understand the volume of excellence these stats carry, the 2nd highest run-scorer in this period was Dimuth Karunaratne with 1347 runs, 

almost half of what Joe Root scored. He also scored 9 tons in that period. Not to mention that this is also the highest.

Going back to the ‘Fab 4,’ they all were roaming around the 7000 runs mark in January of 2021. Fast forward 1.5 years, Root crossed the border of 10k while Kohli and Smith somehow edged 8k. Kane is even nowhere near that.

And while Root put up 9 centuries to his name, the other three could offer none. 

That is the level of excellence Root has touched in the last couple of years. Some might try to put match numbers as an argument. But nothing can take away the praise from this monstrous scoring rate of Joe Root.

Probably he couldn’t have wanted it any better -- in Lords, in the 4th innings, scoring a century while chasing in a thrilling Test match. Root's achievements and the match-winning knock have produced one of the best scenes in Test cricket in recent years. 

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