NZ vs ENG | Felt like I owed a solid contribution to the group, gushes Joe Root
Joe Root's 153 set the tone for England to establish dominance over the Black Caps|
Joe Root expressed relief after his century against New Zealand in the second Test, stating he was due a big score given his latent struggles in recent times given his lofty standards. The former skipper went on to heap big praise on Harry Brooks for his batting and Ben Stokes for his leadership.
England cruised to a strong position against the Black Caps at the Bay Oval in the second Test on Saturday despite an early collapse on the first day. After succumbing to 21/3, the side recovered to 323 without the loss of further wickets courtesy of centuries by Harry Brook and Joe Root. The latter's innings were especially significant since the former skipper deviated from the Bazball approach and took his time for his 153 runs, facing 224 balls. It was Root's first century in seven matches, the previous one coming in July last year, thereby bringing an end to a brief lull for the 32-year-old.
"I felt like I owed that to the group. It's been a while since I made a solid contribution. To be part of such a big partnership was really pleasing and I think the best thing was I had the best seat in the house to watch Harry go about his business. It's a joy to watch him play at the minute. He certainly made my life a lot easier out there, the way he manages to wrestle momentum in our favour and constantly put bowlers under pressure," Root said to ESPN Cricinfo.
Brook, meanwhile, smashed his way to 186 in just 176 deliveries en route to a 302-run partnership in just 363 balls.
"When he comes and plays as he does - if you slightly over-pitch he hits you over your head, if you miss short he goes midwicket, he'll back away and hit you through the off side - it's difficult to know where to bowl with him. When you get down the other end it just feels like there's less pressure on you, and more opportunity to get him back on strike and down the business end. I felt we had a really good understanding, we negated a few modes of dismissal by getting down the crease. We fed off each quite nicely and made it difficult for them to bowl one length for us," Root said of his compatriot.
The charge by the duo helped the visitors declare early on day two at 435/8, allowing James Anderson to snare three wickets with the new ball before Jack Leach matches his tally with crucial scalps closer to stumos.
"I think it was a brilliant call from Ben," Root said of the declaration.
"It felt like that 40 minutes before the break, the sun was out and with 40 minutes of sun, a heavy roller and 40 minutes of sun at lunch, it might have changed the wicket. It didn't work out like that, it gave a better opportunity to make the most of conditions. The way we're playing at the minute with the confidence we've got, seeing the ball move around with the No. 1 Test bowler, the two leading wicket-takers we've ever had, it just seemed a very brave and attacking option. Full credit to Ben, as you'd expect, for taking it on. He's just walked so naturally into the role, he's managing the game really well and everyone is responding to it. I just think was a brilliant call from him, it would have been very easy for us to keep going and we might not be sat here with them seven-down tonight. Credit to him, he's doing a great job," he added.