Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ashes 2023: Joe Root owned the game in first hour; he was pure quality, says Kevin Pietersen

On Day Four of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, Joe Root started by attempting to reverse scoop off Australia skipper Pat Cummins, which he couldn’t do so. But nailed the shot a short while later, hitting a six and four off seamer Scott Boland to set the ball rolling for an entertaining 55-ball 46.

Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen was in awe of Root’s knock helping England extend their lead to 162 runs at lunch on Day Four. “Root owned the game, he ran the game, he was pure quality. He made Australia do everything he wanted them to do, like spreading the field. It was a masterclass.”

“The sky is the limit for Root with the brain he has and also his work ethic, which is like none other. With 11,000 Test runs, he could be, ‘I’ve got enough, I could swan around, get a hundred, watch everyone the next morning warm up and play football with the lads’,” he said to Sky Sports Cricket.

Pietersen also felt Root’s reverse scoops have a connection to his stint in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 with Rajasthan Royals.

“Every single morning Root is out there wanting to improve. We are lucky enough to watch a master and long may that continue. It would have been in those two months in the IPL (with Rajasthan Royals) where those shots (the reverse scoops) would have been ingrained in his game.”

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting highlighted how England used more attacking shots in the first session of Day Four.

“We have talked a lot about Bazball. The average attacking shot percentage since Brendon McCullum has taken over has been 47 per cent. In the first hour that went up to 58 per cent. They played more shots this morning than over the last 12 months.”

Root’s scintillating effort, coming after his sparking 118 not out in the first innings, also left former Australia head coach Justin Langer heaping praise on him.

“The burning question leading into this series was whether England could apply Bazball theory against Australia’s world-class attack. Under immense pressure this morning Joe Root, a truly great player, has led the way. Regardless of what happens from now, England will grow tall seeing their former captain sticking to the script.”

“Incredible batsmanship and leadership. Take a bow Joe Root. This Test match is alive and well. I was pumped waking up this morning for another day of absorbing, entertaining, pressure-packed Test cricket,” said Langer in his analysis on The Telegraph.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan agreed with Langer’s views and said, “He’s out now, but the shot he attempted off the first ball of the day sent the most incredible message that the Bazballers had arrived for day four. As if this Test couldn’t get any more interesting, that was the most remarkable non-scoring shot you could imagine.”

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