Revealed: England Test captain Joe Root sought Ricky Ponting’s help regarding poor conversation rate
Joe Root sought out Ricky Ponting for help with his batting in Tests.

England’s Test skipper Joe Root sought out Ricky Ponting for advice on how to convert fifties into hundreds, the Australian legend has revealed.

Speaking to cricket.com.au, Ponting said that Root approached him during the 2018-19 Big Bash League and that the pair chatted freely about where the English batsman’s career was ahead of this year’s Ashes. In particular, Root wanted advice on how to improve his conversation rate.

“He said he wanted to have a bit of a chat about his cricket and where he felt he was in his career,” Ponting said. “For me, (his conversion rate issue has) one hundred per cent just got to be a mental hurdle that he can’t quite get over, and the more you start thinking about little things like that, the harder they are to put them out of your mind.

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“I’m sure every time he gets to 50 now, the next 50 runs he scores will probably be the hardest runs he ever scores when it should be the other way around; the first 50 should be the hardest and the second fifty be the easiest, but it always looks like it’s just getting a little bit more difficult for him.”

Root has scored 16 centuries and 41 half-centuries in 80 Tests, which gives him a conversation rate of 3.56. Stacked up against the four other best Test batsman of this generation, Root has the poorest fifty-to-hundred conversation.

Joe Root test career
Joe Root has struggled to convert fifties into centuries in Tests. © Getty

Top-ranked Virat Kohli has 25 Test hundreds and 20 Test fifties; Steven Smith has 23 hundreds and 24 fifties; his team-mate David Warner has scored 21 centuries and 29 fifties and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has 20 centuries and 30 fifties.

(READ: World Test Championship ‘very exciting’ – Virat Kohli)

In Ponting’s view, England needed to bat Root at No 3 in Test cricket. The 28-year-old averages 40.57 from 40 innings at one-down.

“They have a lot of middle order players – (Jonny) Bairstow, (Jos) Buttler, (Ben) Stokes – all these guys can bat well in the middle, (but) they haven’t had a solid number three for a couple of years now,” said Ponting. “So I’d be tempted, if I was England, to lock Joe Root into number three. He’s obviously coming off a good World Cup as well, looks like he’s in really good control of his game, so now might be the best time for him to move up into that spot.”

England play Ireland in a four-day Test match starting today at Lord’s, and then contest the Ashes versus Australia from August 1 as the World Test Championship begins.