England captain Joe Root went past greats like Ricky Ponting, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and became only the fourth cricketer in the game’s history to score 1,600 Test runs in a calendar year. Root achieved the feat on Day 3 of the second Ashes Test against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday. Root is also the first player in more than 13 years to score more than 1,600 runs in a calendar year since South Africa’s Graeme Smith in 2008. Root, who missed a first Test century on Australian soil, currently has 1,606 runs this year in only 14 tests with an average of 64.24. He has scored six centuries this year with a best of 228.
Root, who had missed the three-digit mark in the first Test, Brisbane – escaped 89 – looked good in the second day-night test in Adelaide before turning Cameron Green to Steve Smith as he dropped to 62nd.
Root nonetheless added another chapter to his incredible season, joining a few elites to make 1,600 test runs in a calendar year.
Only Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 races in 2006), West Indian legend Viv Richards (1,710 races in 1976) and former South African captain Graeme Smith (1,656 in 2008) have made more.
With the Boxing Day Test and one more innings left in this Adelaide Test, Root would dream of breaking Yousuf’s all-time numbers.
The Yorkshire man admitted before leaving for Australia that he had been “desperate” to succeed in a country where he had managed just 570 races, without a hundred, with an average of 38, ahead of the current tour.
“I think I probably wanted it too much, I was too desperate and it probably had a negative impact on the way I played, I put too much pressure on myself,” he said.
Root’s milestone production, however, had little impact on England’s fortunes. The visitors failed to make a comeback in the pink ball test on day 3 as Australia looked to go 2-0 ahead in the five-match series.
After bowling England out with 236, Australia reached 45/1 on blunt Saturday, with a healthy lead of 282 runs.
Australia had beaten England extensively in the first Test.
(With AFP inputs)
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