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Got my rhythm back playing ODI series against Sri Lanka: Root

Scoring his 21st Test century, Joe Root helped revive England’s hopes in the opening Test match

English skipper Joe Root said that the ODI series against Sri Lanka helped him to regain his batting rhythm, as he smashed a counter-attacking hundred to revive England’s hopes in the opening Test match against India at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, England.

Root, who had failed to reach half-century in his last five Tests, ended up scoring 64 in the first innings and then came up with a masterful 109 helping England put up a much-improved batting show in their second innings. After being skittled out for 183 in the first innings, Root’s 21st Test century helped England score 303 in 85.5 overs and secure a lead of 208 runs,

“It felt pretty good to get a big score and get us into position to give us a chance of winning this Test,” Root said in a virtual press-conference.

Referring to the series against Sri Lanka in June-July where he returned with unbeaten knocks of 68 and 79, Root said, “I’ve actually felt a real benefit from playing some white-ball cricket (in Sri Lanka).”

“It would be nice to have some red-ball cricket coming into this game but, from my point of view, playing 50-over cricket gave me some rhythm back in my batting.” Root said, adding that he is reaping dividends from a few technical changes that he incorporated while playing ODI cricket.

“More than anything, up from New Zealand (Lord’s Test) I’ve changed a few things. I felt I got forward and back better,” he added, and proceeded to elaborate, “I was standing a lot taller a lot earlier, picking my bat up a lot earlier, I feel like I’ve got rhythm back in my hands. I find 50-over cricket can be a massive help to my red-ball game.”

Before the recent lean patch, Root had scored two double centuries in three matches, including the 218 in the Chennai Test as he became the first to surpass the 1,000-mark this calendar year. He now has 1,064 Test runs in 2021.

Expressing his excitement after scoring the century, Root spoke on the moments leading up to the century. “The five, 10 minutes leading into getting the hundred was a bit hairy as well, so there was probably a bit of relief,” he said referring to surviving a couple of LBW calls while in the 90s. “As always you’d want more runs to play with, there’s no doubt about that, but you’ve seen throughout this whole game there’s been times when clusters of wickets have fallen and the game’s really flipped on its head,” he added.

The match also featured some exchanges between India pacer Mohammed Siraj and England batters including Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow. Dismissing them as “nice banter”, Root said, “I had quite a nice conversation with him. He told me how well he was bowling and I agreed.”

Commenting on his other teammates, the injured pace sensation Jofra Archer and talismanic allrounder Ben Stokes, who has taken an indefinite break from cricket to focus on mental wellbeing, Root said, “We’re going through quite a rough patch at the moment. But there’s some strong characters in that dressing room and they’re going to have to be strong characters, because we have to start getting better, turning starts into good scores.”

“In terms of my own form, it feels very good. I just want to keep it going,” he concluded.

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