Joe Root wins Test for England having been left to do what he does best | Andy Bull


The former captain can now concentrate on his batting and he produced the most enjoyable of his 26 centuries for England

The rain was hard enough to wake the sleeping on Sunday morning, and it was easy to imagine the players were up early to check the weather. It looked a good day for bowling – damp, dark and overcast, as if the English summer had got lost somewhere in the west after sunset the previous evening and was still trying to find its way back around to the ground. Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who have played a lot of cricket here in the past 14 years, knew that conditions don’t get much better for men in their line of business. “They were as good as you could hope for,” Kane Williamson said later.

Mornings always feel a little foreboding for English batsmen these days given the way the team have been playing, but this one was especially ominous. Usually Joe Root would have been up suffering with worry about it. He says he had found it increasingly hard to sleep in the last few months of his captaincy, the cares he had gone to bed with the previous evening burst back in on him as soon as he was awake again – bowling changes, field placings, form, fitness, media commitments. He says it had become an “unhealthy relationship”, that it was affecting his fitness and dragging him, and his family, down.

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Written by Andy Bull at Lord’s
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