Joe Root raises his bat in celebration after completing his century on Day 2 © Getty Images
Joe Root raises his bat in celebration after completing his century on Day 2 © Getty Images

England was undone by some terrific bowling by the South African seamers, getting reduced to 91 for the loss of four wickets at one stage. The Proteas, who somehow managed to cross the 300-run mark in the first innings thanks to the efforts of the tail-enders, were breathing down heavily on the England top-order with the intent of shooting them out for a lowly total. Yet, England miraculously managed to finish the day on a relatively safe score of 238 for five, and could have come within striking distance of 300 had light not played spoilsport. It was of course one of those days when Joe Root was on song, making merry with that bat. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: South Africa vs England 2015-16, 3rd Test at Johannesburg

That fact that the young lad from Yorkshire has been in an insane form for over a year now which is a known fact, and this is exactly what makes him one of the best Test batsmen in the world at the moment as well as one of the most feared entities in the England squad by the opposition. Root had been collecting runs all over the world — from West Indies, back home in England to the UAE. The 25-year-old right-handed batsman was superb in the first couple of Tests in the ongoing series against South Africa, and the situation that he found himself in when England lost their fourth wicket was one that was tailor-made for him to respond to. READ: Joe Root ton helps England recover to 238/5 at stumps on Day 2 of 3rd Test vs South Africa

While some credit has to be given to Ben Stokes for playing the way he did, scoring 58 off a mere 54 deliveries to form a crucial 111-run fifth-wicket partnership with Root to brought England right back on their feet in the match. Stokes has slowly establising himself as the pillar of the England middle-order, and his services, and his recent performances (especially his marathon 258 at Cape Town) has drawn praise from legendary all-rounder Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham himself.

There was a difference between Stokes and Root in the way they batted, which can be credited to their individual styles as well. While Stokes opted for the brute power approach, Root stuck to exquisite technique and timed his strokes to absolute perfection. His pull shots off some of the short-pitched deliveries from the likes of Chris Morris and Hardus Viljoen would have easily made Ricky Ponting proud.

Stokes departed after getting a leading edge off Morne Morkel, but that barely deterred Root from continuing to plunder the opposition bowlers as if nothing happened. One wonders how far he would have gone had bad light not forced the umpires to stop play, which ultimately led to the premature call for stumps. Batting on 106 off 131 deliveries with 17 fours to his credit, Root would have surely aimed for another 50-odd runs off his bat in the next half-an-hour or so to take his side to within the 300-run mark.

Stokes will get some credit for setting the tone for the pair’s approach to the South African seam attack in the second and third sessions of the day. However, it was Root’s persistence, class and determination that stood out as the highlight of the day’s play, and the innings could go on to be his finest should he produce something special on the upcoming day.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)