Joe Root has put on a one-man batting show during England’s first Test against India at Trent Bridge. His collective 173 runs were the only obstacle between India and an innings victory, as the home side’s ever-shaky top order continued to struggle. The class that Root showed in his first-innings 64 was only curtailed by an uncharacterstic failure to put away a Shardul Thakur leg stump half-volley, and continued emphatically into his eventual second-innings score of 109.
The two knocks make Root only the fourth player ever in men’s Tests to score a century and another fifty-plus score in a match in which no-one else on the same side has reached 33. The others to do so are Geoff Rabone for New Zealand against South Africa in 1953-4, Roston Chase for the West Indies against Pakistan in 2017, and that man Virat Kohli for India against England at Edgbaston in 2018.
It is well-discussed that Root finds himself on a different planet to the rest of his colleagues at the moment, and such makes his hundred in the face of a 95-run first-dig deficit arguably his best in an England shirt. The absence of support outside of thirties and the obstinate Dom Sibley will be hugely worrying for the Three Lions, however, who ahead of the upcoming Ashes are not answering the right questions. Root will need a right-hand run-getter in that decisive series if England are to do the improbable.