CRICKET Sports News

Joe Root: Can Hamilton double century give England captain a fresh start?

Before his brilliant innings of 226 against New Zealand on the fourth day of the second test, England captain Joe Root had averaged just 27.4 in 2019.

It had got to the point where his position as England captain was under threat, such was his run of underwhelming scores.

Root was unable to score a century as Australia retained the Ashes and even dropped out of the top ten batsman in the official ICC rankings after the first test in New Zealand.

Despite this, Root remains a high quality performer, and it was only a matter of time before he returned to his usual standards.

He did so in style, recording a third double century in test cricket in Hamilton with a classic fluid innings.

So, is this a return to form for Root? With a tour to a struggling South Africa, the Yorkshireman has a perfect opportunity to push on and show why he is the right man to lead his country.

On his one tour to the side currently number four in the world, Root scored three 50s and a century in eight innings, and a similar return would go down well.

England’s batting line-up is far from solid right now, with plenty of the top sevens’ futures uncertain at best.

In fact, it could be argued that only three of the incumbent batsmen will still be in their positions next summer, those being Root, vice-captain Stokes and opener Rory Burns, who also scored a century in the second test.

Root said to Test Match Special after day four’s play: “I have always felt like the runs were around the corner.

“Once I got in I had the bit between my teeth and wanted to make a big one to force a result in this game.

“I have never felt like it has been far away.”

Root walks off after being dismissed first ball as England lost the Ashes at Old Trafford

The batting problems facing England have been ongoing for years, with numerous top and middle-order batsmen taking their turn, with most of them only in the team short-term.

This hasn’t helped with Root’s form, as the 28-year old has been bumped between three and four in the batting order, which has clearly affected his consistency.

He seems to have decided that four is his preferred position, England’s focus should surely be on settling in a number three to complement Root.

Joe Denly is the man currently holding that position, but at 33-years of age and a test average in the low 30s, the Kent man may not be the long-term solution the ECB are looking for.

Joe Denly plays an off-drive in the first test against New Zealand on his way to 74

Getting the best out of Root is imperative for England going forwards. The team need him to be their focal point, as Steve Smith is for Australia, or Virat Kohli for India.

This double hundred in Hamilton might just be the spark Root needs to reignite his batting form, and South Africa might just be in the firing line after Christmas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *