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Joe Root's Massive Hundreds In Tough Conditions in Sri Lanka Signal Big Warning To India

Joe Root has made the beautiful Galle International Stadium in the southern port city of Sri Lanka his own over the last couple of weeks. With two scores of 150-plus he has been a class above and a few notches higher than all the English batsmen on display in the two-Test series in the island nation.

Joe Root's Massive Hundreds In Tough Conditions in Sri Lanka Signal Big Warning To India

Joe Root has made the beautiful Galle International Stadium in the southern port city of Sri Lanka his own over the last couple of weeks. With two scores of 150-plus he has been a class above and a few notches higher than all the English batsmen on display in the two-Test series in the island nation. It has been a special effort from the English captain often accused of not converting his fifties into the big hundreds in trying and difficult sultry conditions in Sri Lanka.

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Root has so far aggregated 415 runs in three innings in the series at an average of 138.33 and strike rate of 65.56. A few things stand out about his performances in Galle. Firstly, the proportion of his team runs that Root has managed to score in both the Tests and the rate at which he has scored them. Root scored 54.16% of England's runs in the first innings of the first Test - a magnificent 228 of a total of 421. The ball was turning and the heat and humidity was oppressive. As many as six English batsmen were dismissed in single-digits but Root defied all odds absorbing the pressure of wickets falling around him to record the highest score in an innings (and the first double ton) by an English batsman in Sri Lanka taking his side to a memorable seven-wicket victory.

Root also scored his runs at a fair clip at a strike rate of 71.03 which was much higher than the norm of the first innings of both the teams. When other batsmen were struggling to cope with the conditions battling with the pitch and the weather, the England number 4 was at his fluent best hammering 18 fours and a six but also picking a number of runs in ones and twos - a testimony of his fitness, mental toughness and temperament.

Sri Lanka is also one of the toughest places for non Asian teams to come to and conquer. Apart from the unrelenting energy-sapping weather, the wickets itself are spin friendly with a barrage of tweakers thrown at the visiting teams one after the other. No country offers more deviation and a better average for spinners than Sri Lanka since 2010. They had two quality ones in Lasith Embuldeniya and Dilruwan Perera. The ease with which Root countered the duo with near perfect footwork either going right forward or back defined his batting and was one of the major reasons for his success in the innings.

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There have been some mighty fine hundreds by English batsmen in the sub-continent. Mike Gatting's 207 helped the visitors to a nine-wicket win in Chennai in 1985, Alastair Cook's 190 gave England a seven-wicket victory and a 2-1 lead in the series at the Eden Gardens in 2012 and Kevin Pietersen had hammered a counter-attacking 186 of just 233 deliveries in the previous match of the same series in Mumbai.

But Root's double hundred in Galle is right up there with the best - to score big at a high strike rate when most others failed in tough hot and humid conditions with a wicket suiting spin bowling - it does not get better than that!

Root wasn't done. He produced another masterclass in the first innings of the second Test at the same venue. His 186 of just 309 deliveries was very similar to his performance in the first Test - Root scored 54.07% of his team's runs, absorbed the pressure of early wicket falling in the innings and then went one to produce his second successive 150 score of the series. The second-highest score of the innings was 55. Root's splendid knock helped England reach within touching distance of Sri Lanka's first innings total of 381 and with their spinners wreaking havoc in the second innings, it might well be the differentiator between a 1-1 scoreline and a famous 2-0 win for the visitors.

A lot has been written about Root's relatively poor conversion rate when compared with the Fab Four - Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steven Smith. Prior to England's ongoing tour of Sri Lanka, Root had crossed fifty in as many as 66 innings but only gone on to convert it to a three-digit score on 17 occasions. Kohli's 50-100 Conversion Rate is 54%, Smith's - 47.3%, Williamson's 40.9% - all significantly higher than Root's 26.8%.

But once Root gets to a hundred there is no stopping the stylish England batsman. Root's 100-200 Conversion Rate is one of the best in the world at 21.05%. Just for perspective, Smith has a 100-200 Conversion Rate of 11.1%, Williamson - 16.7% and Kohli - 25.9%. Pietersen had a 100-200 Conversion Rate of 13% while the percentage for Cook was 15.2%.

Root's two daddy hundreds in Galle are the two highest scores by an English batsman in Sri Lanka. His aggregate in this series is already 137 runs more than the previous best by an England batsman in a series in Sri Lanka - 278 by Alastair Cook in 2007-08. During the course of this series, Root has overtaken some all-time England legends like Geoff Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and David Gower and is currently the fourth highest run-getter in England's illustrious Test cricket history.

At 49.62, he has the highest batting average amongst the 10 highest run-getters for England in their Test history. Root's efforts could see England sweeping their second consecutive series in Sri Lanka by conquering the home side's fortress at Galle where they had their best home record.

With the big India series barely a couple of weeks away, the England captain has made a big statement in similar conditions not too far from the venue of the series opener in Chennai.



Team Rankings

RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
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