England star batter Joe Root continued with his purple patch during the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston, bringing up his 30th Test century that powered England to a huge score in the first innings, continuing their ‘Bazball’ style of cricket which emphasises on win, a result at least and is powered by attacking and positive mindset. At the start of 2021, Root was at the bottom of the ‘Fab Four’, a quartet of modern-day batting greats comprising of him, Virat Kohli from India, Steve Smith from Australia and Kane Williamson from New Zealand in terms of centuries scored in Tests. Virat was at the top with 27, Smith next with 26, Williamson at third with 24 and Root at the bottom with 17.
Now midway of 2023, Root has left behind these aforementioned batting superstars by a huge margin.
From 2021 start till this day, Root has scored 3,299 runs at an average of 58.91. In 62 innings, he has managed 13 centuries and nine half-centuries, with the best score of 228.
During this time period, no other batsman has managed even 2,000 Test runs.
His second and distant rival is Sri Lanka’s Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne. In 19 matches in this period, he has scored 1,972 runs at an average of 59.75. Across 34 innings, he has scored seven centuries and ten fifties, with the best score of 244. At the third position is Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne. In 23 Tests played during this period, he has scored 1,873 runs at an average of 55.08. In 39 innings, he has managed six centuries and seven fifties, with the best score of 204.
Coming to his competition among the ‘Fab Four’, Root is just as next-level as he is with other players.
Root’s most distant rival among these once-in-a-generation batting stars is Smith. In 23 matches during 2021-23, he has scored 1,710 runs at an average of 55.16. In 36 innings, he has scored five centuries and eight fifties at the best score of 200*.
Williamson has also performed consistently in Tests in 2021-23, scoring 1,247 runs in 12 Tests played so far at an average of 69.27, with five centuries and a fifty. His best score is 238.
Virat, the topper of all major ‘Fab Four’ batting lists across all formats, has played 22 Tests in this time period, in which he has scored 1,161 runs at an average of 31.37, which is way below the high standards set by him. In 38 innings, he has managed just one century and five fifties, with the best score of 186.
During 2021-23, Root scored 13 centuries, Smith and Williamson scored five while Virat could score just one.
Root has climbed to the second place in Test century charts among ‘Fab Four’ players with 30 tons, while Smith is at the top with 31. Williamson is at third place with 29 centuries while Virat, once probably the strongest of all four in Tests, lays at the bottom in terms of centuries and runs scored in 2021-23.
This purple patch has also boosted Root’s overall Test stats and made him the highest run-scorer in Test among these four batters. Overall, he has scored 11,122 runs at an average of 50.78 in 131 Tests. He has 30 centuries and 58 fifties in 239 innings, with the best score of 254.
Smith has also added quite a lot to his stats. After his performances in the 2021-23 period, he has 8,947 runs in 97 Tests at an average of 60.04, with 31 centuries and 37 half-centuries and the best score of 239.
In 94 matches, Kane has 8,124 runs at an average of 54.89. He has scored 28 centuries and 33 fifties in 164 centuries, with the best score of 251.
Virat has a long way to go to 9,000 Test runs. In 109 Tests, he has scored 8,479 runs at an average of 48.72. He has scored 28 centuries and 28 fifties in 185 innings, with the best score of 186*. His lack of consistency in 2021-23 cost him a place at the top of the ‘Fab Four’ in Tests.
Coming to the match, England declared their first innings at 393/8 after electing to bat first. A century from Root (118* in 152 balls, with seven fours and four sixes), fifties from Jonny Bairstow (78 in 78 balls, with 12 fours) and Zak Crawley (61 in 73 balls, with seven fours) powered England to a huge score.
Nathan Lyon (4/149) was the pick of the bowlers for the Aussies. Josh Hazlewood picked up two wickets while Scott Boland, Cameron Green got a wicket each.
At the end of day 1, Australia was at 14/0, with David Warner (8*) and Usman Khawaja (4*).
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article