Sheffield’s Joe Root wants intimidating atmosphere

England's Joe Root during warm up on day four of the Investec Second Test at Headingley, Leeds.
England's Joe Root during warm up on day four of the Investec Second Test at Headingley, Leeds.
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Joe Root is hoping his home crowd have the same appetite to cheer on England as thousands did at Lord’s last week when Alastair Cook’s team were pushing for victory there.

England’s bowlers got the job done on day five at HQ to make it 1-0 with one to play - the second Investec Test which will conclude at Headingley on Tuesday.

This time, the onus will be on vice-captain Root and his fellow batsmen to try to pull off an improbable win - in pursuit of a world-record 455 - or close out a stalemate, with all 10 wickets still standing at start of play.

Root can expect to be involved at some stage from number five, weather permitting.

But it will be Cook and another Yorkshireman, Adam Lyth, who must set the tone after they negotiated 13 overs to move to 44 without loss only for rain to then wipe out play from early afternoon on day four.

There are still 98 overs scheduled, in which England can either resist or attack - in the knowledge that, if they are bowled out and therefore defeated, the series will be shared.

Root insists victory, and 2-0 to England, is very much on his agenda.

“Look at last week and the atmosphere and environment that was created at Lord’s from everyone who came to watch,” he said.

“You’d love that to be exactly the same here. It’d be great to get as many people in as we can.”

Headingley was full, or very nearly, on days one and two - but less well-populated since.

Root has it in mind to reward those who turn up to witness the outcome, with entry just £5 for adults and free to accompanied under-16s.

“There is quite a bit of work to do, but we’ve got an opportunity to do something special,” he added.

“At least one person is obviously going to have to stand up and play a really important innings.

“(But) you look around that changing room, and one to 11 they are match-winners really.

“We’ve got every opportunity to go out there and chase them down.”

England are up against it, thanks largely to BJ Watling (120) who became the first New Zealander to make a Test hundred at this venue.

Mark Craig (58no) and Tim Southee then also shared an eighth-wicket stand of 67 in under nine overs.

Root said: “Watling played an exceptional knock, and towards the end they probably got a hundred more than we’d have liked really.

“But we’re in the position we are, and we’ve still got a chance of winning the game - which is very exciting.”

Watling believes his team have an outstanding chance of victory, but knows it will not be easy.

He said: “We’ve still got 98 overs and a good 30 overs with the second new ball, so we’re definitely backing ourselves to win the game.

“We know England won’t back down and they’ll be tough to get out ... so we’re going to come out strong and try to pick up some early wickets and put them under some pressure.”

:: England are expected to rest some of their Test stars, before this summer’s Ashes, when they name limited-overs squads to take on New Zealand.

Squads for five one-day internationals and one Twenty20 are set to be named within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Test series.