Cricket: Root’s star continues to rise

England's Joe Root smiles after getting the Man of the Match Award at the end of play on day four of the Second Investec Ashes Test at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 21, 2013. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No Book use. No transmission of moving images. Official sponsor logos only. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
England's Joe Root smiles after getting the Man of the Match Award at the end of play on day four of the Second Investec Ashes Test at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 21, 2013. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No Book use. No transmission of moving images. Official sponsor logos only. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
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It’s been pretty difficult avoiding the name of Joe Root these past few days, weeks and, stretching back, even a few months.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, English cricket has a new darling to cherish in the 22-year-old from Sheffield.

To those who follow the sport, he impacted on their minds with his nerveless Test debut against the Indian spinners in Nagpur last December, making an impressive 73.

To the wider public, his name cropped up when he got punched on the chin by the Aussie batsman David Warner in a Birmingham bar - an incident for which Root was deemed entirely blameless and for which Warner got a ban his bosses.

But a century in an Ashes Test at Lord’s, and putting the old enemy to the sword by batting for an entire day and turning it into as a big a score as 180, is certain to hog the headlines and the limelight.

Toss in a couple of wickets as well - including the Aussie captain - together with the youthful exuberance of his celebrations and the whole country suddenly had a new international cricketer to cherish.

It means expectation is being heaped on him but he will have been reminded of the vagaries of sport because had he failed in that second innings at Lord’s, there would have been those ready to question if it was the right decision by the selectors to have moved him from the middle order to open the batting so early in his England career.

Instead, he ended up being named Man of the Match.

England captain Alastair Cook chuckled: “We spend most of our time talking about him don’t we? He’s taken to international cricket extremely well because he’s got the right character.

“He adapts his time to whatever is required. In a high pressure situation to score a big hundred is a huge credit to him.”

They’ve known about him in Sheffield and Yorkshire cricket circles for a while. Now the whole country is learning fast.

VIDEO: Praise for Root - See thestar.co.uk/video