Home > Features >

Ashes 2013: Joe Root lands return punch on Australia with career-defining knock

Ashes 2013: Joe Root lands return punch on Australia with career-defining knock

The punches off the backfoot were Joe Root’s signature shots during his knock in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s © Getty Images

By Sarang Bhalerao

In the build up to the Ashes, Australian skipper Michael Clarke resorted to playing mind games. Australians are the most dexterous people in this art. Clarke was surprised at the omission of Nick Compton as an opener for England at the Trent Bridge. The statement clearly indicated Clarke didn’t think Joe Root would be a threat to the Australians.

The captain had the chance to vindicate his statement when Root offered a simple catch while batting on eight in the second innings at Lord’s. Root’s genuine edge went past Brad Haddin and Clarke, who was standing at first slip. The scores 30, five and six were disappointing. And if Root would have been dismissed at eight, the inner demon would have taken the centre stage. “Do I belong to this level?” “Am I good enough to play Test cricket?” But the dropped chance changed Root’s fortunes.

On Day three of the Test match, Root just showed why English management backed him so much. Why the British media is right in calling Root a ‘precocious’ talent? The straight drive, the on-drive and the off-drive would have just found a perfect brand ambassador to endorse about the technique of the game. The shots had class and Root was well-balanced while hitting those shots.

Looking from side-on angle one wondered if Michael Vaughan was batting. The punches off the backfoot were his signature shots. The depth of the crease used by Root and the point of contact with the ball showed why that particular stroke is his bread and butter shot. Born and brought up in Geoffrey Boycott’s Yorkshire, Root grew up on the diet of patience. He is unruffled, not fussed by any situation, quiet — much like his county Yorkshire.  For a 22-year-old he has an unflappable attitude and solid temperament. He also became the youngest Ashes centurion at the Mecca of cricket.

Sixty years ago Sir Len Hutton and Willie Watson — the two legendary Yorkshiremen smashed an Ashes ton in the same match. Sixty years is a long time, isn’t it? Root, it seems, is born to make many records. His face radiates pragmatism. He knows nuances of building an innings. He is not here to make the art of batting look beautiful. He struggles, he looks ugly but Root’s relentless pursuit is to weather the storm and cash in.

On his debut against India, Root showed glimpses of his capacity. Those 73 runs were a result of his grit, courage and levelheadedness. Against New Zealand his maiden Test century on his home ground was a compendium of sheer fortitude.

At Lord’s after reaching his second Test ton, Root — a contemporary batsman took over. The shifting of gears, mind you, is not easy. Till his hundred, his batting revolved around basic tenets associated with the traditional opener. Playing the ball late, keeping the good balls away and scoring off the balls which were meant to be hit. Water-tight defence gave very little hope to the Australians.

Talking about his contemporary batting, Root employed paddle sweep and showed more purpose to his batting. By the end of the day he received a lot of freebies. Two benign long-hops from Steven Smith were deposited over deep mid-wicket for sixes. Any ounce of hope that was left in the Australian psyche was being taken away.

Root is batting on 178 off 334 balls. When enquired about the prospects of scoring his maiden double ton by Sky Sports, Root was terse in his reply. He said it’s still a long way to go. This attitude is dangerous for the bowling teams all around the world. Root is still hungry. The immense run-hunger and the ability to bat for long periods gives England a solid option.

If Root received the punch (pun intended) from the Australians a few days back, he has most certainly delivered Australia the knock-out blow. It is a herculean task for Australia to comeback from a what could be a 2-0 deficit.

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

Quinton de Kock equals record for most centuries before the age of 22

Wriddhiman Saha’s performance in the 1st Test at Brisbane could make or break his career

England tour of Sri Lanka 2014: Stats overview of past encounters

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s inspired performance in 2nd Test serves important lesson to non-Asian countries

Australia Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs England Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phil Hughes injury: A cruel example of game’s risks

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Allan Border, Ian Healy feel 1st Test at Brisbane should go ahead

England tour of Sri Lanka 2014: England lack killer instinct, feels Alastair Cook

Jacques Kallis to make his debut as caddy

Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara’s efforts go in vain as Sri Lanka trump England by 25 runs in 1st ODI

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Bigg Boss: Hot Pakistani model Veena Malik and husband arrested on blasphemy charges

மணப்பெண் அழகு சரிபார்ப்பு பட்டியல் – உங்கள் திருமணத்திற்கு ஒரு மாதத்திற்கு முன் என்ன செய்ய வேண்டும்

Bigg Boss 8: Is Gautam Gulati out of the house?

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Scoop: Is Sid Mallya really gay? Watch video to find out!

Microsoft Lumia 535: First non-Nokia low budget Windows smartphone set to be launched today

रितेश-जेनेलिया देशमुख के घर पुत्ररत्न का हुआ जन्म

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here