How Joe Root’s five for eight compares to England’s best Test bowling figures

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Joe Root ripped out the India tail in Ahmedabad to write his name into the list of England’s cheapest five-wicket hauls.

The captain’s figures of five for eight in 6.2 staggering overs of his part-time off-spin saw the hosts dismissed for 145 in the day-night third Test.

Only twice has an England bowler conceded fewer runs while taking five or more wickets in a Test innings – although it is worth noting that both of them took more than five scalps.

Fewest runs conceded by an England bowler taking five or more wickets in an innings
Joe Root took five for eight in a chaotic third Test against India (PA graphic)

George Lohmann leads the way with eight for seven against South Africa in 1896 – the only England five-for featuring more wickets than runs – while Arthur Gilligan took six for seven against the same opposition in 1924.

Lohmann had already taken seven for 38 in South Africa’s first innings of 93 when he reduced them to 11 for three second time around. Hugh Bromley-Davenport and Tom Hayward got in on the act with one wicket apiece but Lohmann wrapped things up by removing the last three batsmen for ducks.

The Proteas were all out for 30, as they were when Gilligan teamed up with Maurice Tate (four for 12) to wreak havoc 28 years later. Gilligan added five for 83 in the second knock of an innings win.

Root built on the efforts of fellow spinner Jack Leach, who did the damage in India’s top order with four for 54 on a pitch offering bewildering turn. India were dismissed for 145, a lead of only 33 over England’s 112 on day one, but the chaos continued as Axar Patel began the England innings with two wickets in the first three balls – with another overturned on review in between.

There are no other five-wicket hauls for England with single-figure run columns, though Johnny Briggs took eight for 11 in 1889 and Schofield Haigh six for 11 in 1899 – both against South Africa. Ian Botham grabbed five for 11 at Edgbaston in what became his eponymous Ashes series in 1981.

Ian Botham grabs a souvenir stump after his 1981 Edgbaston heroics
Ian Botham grabs a souvenir stump after his 1981 Edgbaston heroics (PA)

Root’s innings average during his five for eight, 1.60 runs per wicket, was lower than any bar Lohmann, Gilligan and Briggs, with Steve Harmison next by that measure with his memorable seven for 12 against the West Indies in 2004. Stuart Broad’s eight for 15 in the 2015 Ashes is the only other England five-for at an average better than two.

Root’s efforts also made him the first England captain to take five wickets in an innings since Bob Willis against New Zealand in 1983.

Number 10 Ishant Sharma, the not-out batsman, provided one statistical note on the India side when he hit his first six in international cricket – in his 100th Test and 194th appearance in all formats.

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