Joe Root watches the pitch get all knackered-up

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Joe Root spends a day at the Test match

We’re never sure what to say about declaration batting. It can be hard to watch as the tension is minimal. Even so, it serves important purposes.

Bat for a long time and you get a good view of the opposition bowling. You also sap it of strength. Even if there is a decent rest before the third Test, there’s still the mental impact of bowling ineffectually for a great length of time – that can’t help but have an impact on a bowler’s confidence. Patient declaration batting also allows the pitch to get full knackered-up, which can only be good when you’re bowling last.

Joe Root has, by any estimation, done a cracking job. Until his innings – and even since – Ian Bell is pretty much the only batsman on either side to have made runs. It will be interesting to see how the pitch plays should England ever get round to declaring.

If there’s a downside to Joe Root’s early performances for England, it’s that they encourage the notion that top players are somehow ‘made’ for Test cricket; that they’ll take to it like a late-night drunk takes to the mystery liqueur brought back from a long-forgotten holiday that’s been languishing in the back of the cupboard for as long as anyone cares to remember.

Sometimes it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes a young player has to quaff home brew for a while before they’re ready to even look at mystery liqueur. We hope England fans can remember that sometimes they might need to hand over a pewter tankard and show a little patience.


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  1. Unless something goes unexpectedly, horribly wrong, Joe Root will be a fixture in the England side now for many years to come.

    But there will be ups and downs.

    We might yet get a “should we have accelerated Joe Root as an England Opener?” wobble, although his daddy hundred yesterday might have laid that ghost.

    But if/when England goes through its next minor slump in team form, we will surely get the “Joe Root only scores his big runs in matches where they aren’t really, really needed” phase.

    If England goes through a major slump, we’ll go through a “why oh why can’t Joe Root win matches single handed” phase.

    Assuming he does well, there’ll soon be the “why isn’t Joe Root captain?” debate, until he is made captain when there’ll be plenty of room for the “why oh why have we made Joe Root captain ahead of his time/after his time” stuff.

    …and so it will go on, possibly for 1o to 15 years…

    It’s very predictable – you could write many of those pieces now, KC, in advance, with the benefit of foresight, ready to slot in to your site when appropriate. You might have more time than you expected over the next couple of days – why not churn out a dozen or so such pieces now?

    1. We were thinking more of other young players who might need more initial faith, but all of that is true too.

    2. Indeed, I think I understood, but you could also pre write the pieces about those other poor wretches, just leaving space to insert the names.

      “Why isn’t [insert name here] turning out to be the next Joe Root?”

      “[insert name here] bats OK, but he hasn’t really proved himself because he doesn’t have Joe Root’s golden arm as well.”

      “Why oh why isn’t the county system producing players like Joe Root any more? [insert name here] is only averaging 42 and he has already played 11 tests.”

      “24 years old and he still hasn’t scored an Ashes century at Lord’s. Will it ever happen for [insert name here]?”

  2. 136/6!! what on earth is going on out there?

    (i’m not complaining. all those ex-players moaning about one-sided games and how we all to see a really close series… the latter are absolute hell on the nerves. those of us with a real interest in the result have no desire at all to see a close series, thanks..!)

  3. Bears beaten by ten wickets. The whole game took just about as long as the journey to get here.

  4. It is interesting (*) to watch the Australians seeking positives after this match. The latest thing seems to be that all their players have had a good knock in one of the four innings, just not often enough and not altogether. Included in this list of good knocks are Clarke and Khawaja’s 50s today, Haddin and Hughes’s scores at Trent Bridge, 20s and 30s from the tail, starts from Watson and Rogers…

    You know you’re properly at rock bottom when you’re celebrating one of your batsmen getting a 50.

    (*) hilarious

    1. I am especially enjoying the extraneous piffle:

      * Cricket Australia apologies for inappropriate tweets

      * David Warner apologies for his brother’s inappropriate tweets about Shane Watson – that will be especially interesting if David is recalled, whether Shane is retained or not – I particularly like Bro Warner’s spelling and use of “English” in the tweets

      * Mickey Arthur’s very public legal dispute with Cricket Australia, including the James Sutherland admission that Arthur is the scapegoat (or, as Bro Warner would put it, “escape goat”).

      You simply couldn’t make this sort of stuff up.

  5. the match has been over for a while now, and everyone is being very restrained (perhaps proving aggers’ assertion earlier today that the british don’t like to gloat).

    but sod that… 2-0, 2-0 etc etc πŸ™‚

    1. Why gloat? It’s good to crush Australia but making a big deal of it is like kicking a puppy.

      What Australia needs most of all is our condescension.

    2. Absolutely right, Daneel.

      I am quite sure that Australia will lose subsequent matches with more dignity. Which will be improvement.

      But should we really be inflicting five match series on this poor, hapless squad in its current state? Two or three matches sees enough punishment to me.

      And perhaps next time it would be more in keeping to allow New Zealand or the West Indies the main summer slot. Let’s see how these Aussies get on in Leeds or Durham in May. It would be good experience for them.

    1. Excellent piece, Sam. Well worth the read, everyone.

      Have you been talking to Daisy? In particular, your comments on Cooky and Rooty as spokies might have been Daisy talking.

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