Alchemy was when they used to try and turn base metals into gold. It was a load of cobblers. Tell you what isn’t a load of cobblers though – Joe Root and Ben Stokes batting together. Quite often when these two substances are combined, true magic happens.
In this year’s Cricket Badger awards, we gave Root and Stokes The White Rabbit Award for their slightly-unhinged efforts at Lord’s against New Zealand. This was when things changed. This was the moment when we all went down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland, away from the horrors we’d long been experiencing in the real world.
On that occasion, the pair delivered a barely-credible rebound, taking England from 30-4 in score terms, but far more importantly the lowest of ebbs in broader terms, to 191-5 – doing so with what should probably be described as something other than ‘panache’ if we could be bothered thinking about it properly.
But sometimes it’s not about being patient and selecting precisely the right word. Sometimes it’s about cracking on and vomiting out a load more words in the hope that the torrent as a whole somehow has more of an impact. Rough and ready, a little bit chancy. Just changing the rhythm and getting things moving really.
Today Root and Stokes were at it again. If Root will get the headlines for what was clearly one of his best hundreds on what so far appears to be a magnificent Test pitch, then credit should also be given for Stokes for being the rockets that launched the Root shuttle for its latest trip beyond the stratosphere.
The partnership was hugely entertaining and enormously valuable. Frankly, you can keep your gold.