Part-time spinners will have their day. In January 1989, it was Allan Border taking seven for 46 against the West Indies in Sydney (he took 11 in the match while the front-line slow bowlers for the tourists, Roger Harper and Carl Hooper, got nary a wicket between them). In 2004, it was the turn of Michael Clarke to take six for nine in Mumbai, although unlike Border he finished on the losing side in a close, low-scoring fixture. In 2015, Kraigg Brathwaite, who had only three Test wickets at that point, whittled out Sri Lanka with six for 29 in Colombo.
So on a day that finished on a disappointing note for England after they had fought back brilliantly on the second morning, it seems right that we should concentrate our tweets of the day on the fine work of Joe Root, a man who left it late to bring himself on to bowl on a raging turner and then probably regretted not doing it an hour before the close the night before. He ripped out master-blaster Rishabh Pant with his first ball, well caught behind by Ben Foakes, turned a beauty past Washington Sundar to bowl him and then picked up Axar Patel, driving to Dom Sibley at short extra. At that point, he had three for none off 15 balls and the further scalps of Ravi Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah brought him the first five-wicket haul he had narrowly missed out on South Africa last winter and the outstanding Test figures of five for eight.
The Guerilla commentators' WhatsApp group lit up with suggestions for a new name for this unlikely spin wizard. Muralitharoot proffered Grubby, Derek Underoot proposed Messy Jez, Rootgana Heroot, said Ed. But what did you all make of it out in the Twittersphere? Below is a collection of your tweets as you reacted with growing amazement at the spectacle unfolding in front of you – or in your ears – and below that, a random collection of your tweets that we most enjoyed.
On Joe Root
@guerillacricket who needs moeen when you have joeen— Josh Holland (@jshholland) February 25, 2021
I bet the aussies are terrified at the thought of England's newest star bowler, J.E. Root!@guerillacricket— Jessika – Canucks:(8-13-2) (@SportsJessika) February 25, 2021
Is Root genuinely a better red ball spinner than Washington? Don't know how many first class games Sundar has, but root has a lot of red ball experience. I wrote this before root got him with a beauty, btw.— Tier 5 Thilo (@sourbeerdough) February 25, 2021
@guerillacricket I would like it noted that less than half-an-hour ago I tweeted asking why the heck Root hadn't had a bowl yet.— Colin Rosenthal (@colinrosenthal) February 25, 2021
@guerillacricket who else in the England team bowls part-time spin and can come on? Jofra? Jimmy? Stokes?— James (@JamesMoosh) February 25, 2021
@guerillacricket I'd like to see Simon Harmer bowling on Indian wickets rather than in a SA domestic T20 competition.— Christhechoir (@cbar2323) February 25, 2021
Other Tweets of the day
When I can afford it, I'm buying 11 of the @guerillacricket "Shit gets wickets" t-shirts for my whole cricket team.— James Humberstone (@jimbohumbo) February 25, 2021
@guerillacricket morning fantastic Guerillas. Do we know if the BCCI have released the Foakes gate stump cam stumping or have they buried it in a form of Trumpian esq denial?— Hombrenuevo (@Hombrenuevo11) February 25, 2021
The baby has learnt to clap when England take a wicket. My work here is done. @guerillacricket— MeerKaty (@ithilienorthend) February 25, 2021
Jingle by James Sherwood