Root rides his luck for dream start
The Joe Root era has begun, and begun in some style with the new skipper whacking 184 not out to lead an England fightback against the Proteas.
Root didn’t have things all his own way and could have found himself back in the hut early had JP Duminy held a tricky chance off Kagiso Rabada.
England were in trouble early on as Vernon Philander scythed through the top order leaving the hosts four down by lunch but Root aided by Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali helped his side reach 357/5 by the close of play going along at quicker than four to the over.
Root wasn’t afraid to play his shots as epitomized when he slashed Rabada over the head of Temba Bavuma at backward point late in the day with the diminutive Protea unable to get his hands on the chance.
Speaking after play Root said: “I enjoyed every minute of it.
“At times I rode my luck, but you need to on occasions.
“Especially getting dropped once, just chipping someone on the boundary and then getting a reprieve as well.
“It seemed to fall into place today. When you get a life early you feel like it is your day, and you’ve got to try and make the most of it. This was one of those occasions.”
Root presented another chance to Rabada but saw the ball clear Aiden Markram in the deep, with the pitch far from a road and giving the bowlers plenty to work with.
The skipper added: “I started walking back, I thought I’d hit it straight to him.
“But as I said, lucky was on my side today and it could have been very different. When you do get lives like that in Test cricket, you have to make the most of them. I was just pleased I got a few more later on.”
Root was struggling with a bad cold throughout the day but he wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity.
He said: “I felt pretty groggy this morning, I didn’t wake up great, but there was nothing that was going to stop me from enjoying the day.
“It’s obviously an amazing opportunity and a privilege to be England captain. I wanted to make sure I went out there and made the most of everything. A cold wasn’t going to get in the way.”
England are on top right now but the skipper knows that the South Africa quicks will come back hard tomorrow morning.
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