Rory Burns responded to the recent debate surrounding Joe Root’s ongoing captaincy following his stark decline in form, and revealed his thoughts on Stuart Broad’s rallying cry on a day where England clawed their way back into the second Test.
The pair stuck to their task manfully and showed the sort of grit and dedication that has all-too-frequently been missing from the Test side in recent times.
The 259 deliveries Root took to reach three figures was the slowest of his 17 Test hundreds, six of them have come at the helm of the side, but his innings, allied to Burns’ 101, helped England to 269 for five.
The tourists were denied the chance to reduce the arrears further after rain washed out the last hour but Root will be at the crease at the start of day four as England go in search of a first-innings lead.
Speaking immediately after the conclusion of play Burns said of Root: “It’s obviously really nice to see the skipper get his runs.
“He’s a very good player and a lot of stuff has been potentially said in recent times. Not scoring runs as a batsman might bring other things into the equation which isn’t necessarily true.
“It’s because when he bats like that, everyone’s behind him and knows exactly what he can do.
“For Rooty to get those runs, he’ll be feeling very good but he also knows that there’s more runs to be had and there’s another partnership to get into and can we extend this and can we stretch the game in our favour.”
Root’s 177-run stand alongside Burns came a day after England seamer Stuart Broad had said: “If you’re a batsman, you’d want to bat out there.”
Broad added that Burns was the key batsman on a surface that was benign for most of the day, allowing the Surrey captain and Root to accumulate steadily against a willing but largely nonthreatening attack.
Asked whether the words of Broad were still ringing in his ears Burns, who was dropped twice on Saturday night, said: “I didn’t read that – he told me.
“I’m not sure he said that I was the key wicket, he just said that he fancied me, slightly. I’m glad that I made his words come true.
“I just tried to apply myself for as long as I could, it came to a slightly disappointing end but I thought I played quite well.”
Root and Burns were only parted when the opener came back for a second run and was short of his ground by The Barest Of Margins.
Burns added: “It was my call at the end of the day and that’s where my Surrey strength and conditioning coach will be slightly disappointed because he prides himself on my run twos. I’ve probably let him down there.
“I enjoyed the fact that I got it but at the same time I’m disappointed that I couldn’t stretch that and me and Rooty couldn’t stretch our partnership and get us deeper into the game.”
Following Burn’s dismissal, England reverted to type to a degree by slipping from 201 for two to 262 for five.
But aided by Burns and Root’s centuries, England’s hopes of concluding the two-Test tour with parity were raised on a day where the green shoots of recovery began to spring on English Test cricket once again.
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