Yorkshireman Joe Root revelled in a rare good reception at Lancashire’s Old Trafford as he helped England to a series-levelling victory against Pakistan earlier today.
Sheffielder Root cemented his place as one of the modern Test greats with a stunning 254 in the first innings, his ten-hour stay at the crease helping England to declare on 589-8 in their first innings.
After Pakistan were blown away for 198 in reply, Root added a brisk, unbeaten 71 - off just 48 balls - as England set the tourists a mammoth target of 564 to win the game.
But they fared only a little better second time round, folding for 234 - handing England a comprehensive 330-run win and levelling the series ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston a week tomorrow.
Root took four catches in Pakistan’s first innings and also chipped in with a wicket in their second, dismissing the plucky Wahab Riaz with the second ball of his only over.
It seemed like the boy wonder from Sheffield Collegiate could do no wrong.
“It was a special feeling,” Root said afterwards. looking back to his second Test double century.
“It’s been a good ground for me, actually. I really enjoy it here.
“There’s an electric atmosphere - especially in Lancashire v Yorkshire Roses games, when it gets quite spicy - so it was nice to have some support here, too!”
Root’s starring role was ably supported by skipper Alastair Cook, who hit 105 and 76*, and Chris Woakes, who followed up his Lord’s heroics with seven wickets in the match and 58 in the first innings.
“It was a nice pitch, but you had to earn the right to play,” Root added.
“Cooky at the other end set a brilliant example, and it was nice to put everything we spoke about in practice.
“The win sets us up nicely for the rest of the series.”
Root, promoted to No.3 for the visit of Pakistan, hit 48 in the first Test at Lord’s but was visibly disappointed by his two methods of dismissal.
“I went away, put the hard yards in and worked hard with management and coaching staff, but I also had a good think about things myself, too,” the 25-year-old added.
“It was good to see it pay off and turn around so quickly. I’ll still approach the game in the same way at three as I did at four; it’s about playing the situation you’re faced with.
“But taking a but of risk out of my game will have helped against the newer ball. The series is beautifully poised now and we’re very confident going forward.
“I’m sure the rest of the series will be very entertaining to watch.”