Joe Root should be elevated in the batting order

Joe Root’s evolution as a batsman has been phenomenal; he has been the spine of England’s batting line-up in the recent times. The opening game of the ongoing Ashes one saw England beat arch-rivals Australia at Cardiff in which Root played a pivotal role. He recorded his seventh Test century in the first innings and rescued the England from a tumultuous position and on the contrary he also played a crucial knock in the second innings. Suraj Choudhari feels Root should be elevated in the batting line-up.

Root usually bats at No.5. In the first Ashes Test, Root came out to bat when England were struggling at 43 for three, but after a reprieve early in his innings, Root produced a masterful 134. In fact, he has been doing the same for more than a year now and the entire English batting revolves around him. He possesses a sound batting technique and does not fumble against spin or pace. His presence at the crease inspires confidence.

His exquisite hundred in the first innings resurged England innings as they were comfortably placed at 280 at the time of his dismissal. His hand eye co-ordination was exceptional and feet movement was a pleasure to watch. His innings built a solid platform for the lower order to capitalise on. Eventually, Moeen Ali chipped in with a priceless 77 due to which the English were in a commendable position. Australia bowled reasonably well but it some sheer brilliance and temperament that derived Australia from bowling them out early. England posted 430 runs and eventually conceded a 122 runs lead in the first innings.

In the second innings too, he came into bat when England were three men down for a mere score of 73, he scored a quick-fire 60 which included 11 boundaries. His 97 runs partnership along with Ian Bell sheered his team in a dominating position. Ultimately, England set a mammoth target of 412 in the second innings for Australia to chase. Equally backed by the bowlers, England silenced their doubting Thomases as they won the contest by 169 runs.

Coming back to the Root’s batting position; he should be elevated at number three. England’s top order in both innings failed to realise their need to bid time against the new ball. Root’s elevation will provide some breathing space to Bell and Gary Ballance. Root has proved his prowess against the new ball in the past and opened the innings. His advancement can help his team built a platform for the middle-order. In the first innings England were 43 for three, they lost their first wicket for a score of seven. If Root would have batted at three the scoreboard definitely would have been different. Players like Bell and others would have been able to break free as they were tentative after suffering early blows. Bell’s poor form, Adam Lyth’s lack of experience and Ballance’s questionable technique to tackle new swinging deliveries is clearly and indication for Root to bat ahead of them. Technically Root looks more complete and England have an opportunity make him play without the added pressure. He is also tipped to be the next English captain and investing in him will only yield fruitful results.

Root will have a climactic role to play in the rest of the matches and England need to reconsider their batting line-up. If Root succeeds with the bat at the top it will definitely boost his team’s confidence and the morale will be lifted. Before the start of the series one would have anticipated Australia to dominate the series but England have turned the tide and would settle for nothing less than the Urn.


(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)

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