Root happy to be an England rock star
July 5, 2022 10:59 PM
Joe Root said England captain Ben Stokes had urged the side to play like "rock stars" following a record-breaking win over India.
Set 378 for victory in the Covid-delayed fifth Test, more than any other England team have managed and the eighth highest chase in the 145-year-old's format history, the hosts' made a mockery of the challenge during a seven-wicket win achieved with more than two sessions to spare at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
Root finished on a commanding 142 not out, with Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow's unbeaten 114 his second hundred of the match and fourth in his last five Test innings.
Root, after compiling his 28th Test century, wiggled his little finger at the England changing room in a reference to a scene from the recently-released Baz Luhrmann movie 'Elvis', about the legendary rock 'n roll star Elvis Presley.
Stokes succeeded Root as captain after the star batsman stood down following a run of just one win from 17 Tests.
But England have struck few bum notes since the appointment of a new leadership pair in Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, with this their fourth win from four matches under the duo following a 3-0 whitewash of Test world champions New Zealand.
"It's about trying to have fun and really relishing every opportunity you get to showcase what you're about and put on a show for everyone," said Root. "It's like being a kid again."
The 31-year-old, a veteran of 121 Tests, added: "I don't think I'll ever be able to feel or look like a rock star but for 10 seconds out there I might have done.
"That's what the little pinkie celebration was about. Ben watched the Elvis film the other day and he's been doing that all week. It was a little tribute to him."
Root, while essentially an orthodox batsman, said all-rounder Stokes had encouraged him to broaden his repertoire, with a reverse ramp for six off India medium-pacer Shardul Thakur on Tuesday evidence of a growing range of strokes.
"The Yorkshireman inside me is still saying 'dig in, play straight and get behind it'," said Root, mimicking a forward defensive shot.
"Then there's the captain on my shoulder saying 'be a rock star'. So you're fighting between the two of them, sometimes."
Stokes suggested he would have been happy with an even larger chase.
"There was a bit of me that almost wanted them (India) to get 450 (ahead), to see what we did," he said.
"Chasing 378 seven weeks ago would have been a scary thing for us to look at but we knew what we were going to try and do.
"The last five weeks have been an incredible turnaround. I don't think everyone can understand what has happened here."
India were 2-1 up last year, when Root was captaining England, only for the fifth Test in Manchester in September to be postponed just hours before the start because of coronavirus concerns within the tourists' camp.
But India coach Rahul Dravid, who only succeeded Ravi Shastri in November last year, had no complaints about having to play a revitalised England on the back of just one warm-up game.
"I don't want to make excuses," said Dravid. "We had our opportunities, we played well over the first three days.
"We couldn't maintain that. We were not able to do that and they (England) did that better than us and they deserved to win this Test match."
India's defeat was compounded when the team were fined 40 percent of their match fee and docked two World Test Championship points for maintaining a slow over-rate at Edgbaston.