Joe Root hails captain Ben Stokes for ‘getting the best out of himself as a leader’, but tips his successor to return to form of his own… as England edge towards a seventh successive Test win in New Zealand
Joe Root paid tribute to the captaincy of Ben Stokes after another productive day for England and then insisted his successor will soon return to his barnstorming best.
Root made an unbeaten 153 before Stokes latest imaginative declaration with England at 435 for eight and then saw Jimmy Anderson and Jack Leach take three wickets apiece as New Zealand crashed to 138 for seven in reply on the second day of the final Test.
But Stokes gave his wicket away all too easily again to fall for 27 and seems more determined than ever to slog when he comes to the crease rather than just bat positively.
But the former England captain believes Stokes is more than proving his worth to the new England with his leadership and says he will again contribute with bat and ball when the need arises for him to stand up.
‘I think he’s doing a brilliant job of getting the best out of himself as a leader,’ said Root after rain had again curtailed the second day. ‘The decisions he’s making under pressure, the way he’s managing the team and his players is as good as I’ve seen.
Joe Root paid tribute to the captaincy of Ben Stokes after another productive day for England
‘You look at all the young lads that are thriving at the moment and he’s certainly getting the best out of them. And he’s getting more and more out of the experienced guys.
‘There’s no doubt his own performances will come and you know he’s the kind of big game player when there will be a situation where we’ll be up against it and he’ll stand up and deliver. It’s just a matter of time in my eyes.’
Root also paid tribute to Harry Brook, who could only add two to his overnight 184 but joined his fellow Yorkshireman in a record-breaking stand of 302 when England were in trouble at 21 for three on the first morning.
‘Whenever you’re at the crease with Brooky at the moment he’s making it easier for you,’ said Root. ‘He manages to put pressure back on bowlers, hit them off their lengths and wrestles momentum back in your favour.
‘As well as I thought I played a lot of credit has to go to him because he’s almost playing on a different planet, on a completely different surface to everyone else. Such skill, such confidence and ability. It’s a joy to watch and I felt like I had the best seat in the house.’
Root has tipped his successor Stokes to find form with both bat and ball when he is needed to