Home » Joe Root capitalises on India’s Jasprit Bumrah blunder with perfect century

Joe Root capitalises on India’s Jasprit Bumrah blunder with perfect century

Brendon McCullum asked this week “do we want just a normal Joe Root?” Yes please, and that is exactly what England were thankful for as Root reverted to type and played one of his best innings to rescue the first day of the fourth Test.

It will have gladdened the hearts of England supporters to see Root playing like this and there cannot have been many more popular hundreds scored even in the highly entertaining Bazball era than this one.

It was also massive for his team because England will not win a series in India without a contribution from Root, and at 2-1 down after one of the heaviest defeats in Test history, and in deep trouble at lunch here, they needed this. Badly.

India resting Jasprit Bumrah feels like a massive blunder with the series still live. His absence eased Root’s anxiety. After all, part of the reason he played that reverse ramp was because he did not trust his defence to Bumrah and panicked.

Whether it was complacency, player power – there were rumours Bumrah didn’t want to play in Rajkot – or protecting a priceless player for the looming IPL, the decision worked hugely in England and Root’s favour.

McCullum’s Root comment was framed in response to the reverse ramp of Rajkot that plunged him into one of the lowest ebbs of his career. The coach’s point was that if playing the reverse ramp successfully unlocked another level to his batting then a great player would emerge even better.

One of the misconceptions of Bazball is that the coach is leaning on a player like Root to score quicker. In reality, he encourages players to be as positive as their natural game allows and will back them if they get out trying it. Root’s problem was that he had forgotten those principles last week.

Even a player of his experience will have been rattled by the savaging, although it did overshadow the fact he was moving better before the ramp. Root’s response, to score 106 at a strike rate of 43, his first hundred since the Edgbaston Ashes Test in June, and the slowest of the Bazball days, off 219 balls, was perfect. 

It was not an angry riposte. He listened and took the criticism on board. No other player reached fifty, only the second time Root has scored a hundred without the support of a half century from someone else, which shows how he batted on a completely different plane to all the others as England closed on 302 for seven, a good total banked already on a tricksy pitch