Joe Root backed by England team to continue as their leading man

Rory Burns insists Joe Root has the backing of everyone in the England camp after the pair both recorded centuries on day three of the second Test at Hamilton.

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 1:12 pm
England's Joe Root kisses his helmet as he celebrates his century against New Zealand at Seddon Park. Picture: AP/Mark Baker

There has been scrutiny over whether the captaincy is impinging on Root’s batting because of his average of just 27.4 in his 10 previous Tests this year, but he ended his lean trot with 114 not out.

The 259 deliveries Root took to reach three figures was the slowest of his 17 Test hundreds, six of them have come at the helm of the side, but his innings, allied to Burns’ 101, helped England to 269-5.

The tourists were denied the chance to reduce arrears of 106 further after rain washed out the last hour at Seddon Park.

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England's Rory Burns runs a single against New Zealand at Seddon Park. Picture: AP/Mark Baker

“It’s obviously really nice to see the skipper get his runs” said Burns. “He’s a very good player and a lot of stuff has been said in recent times. Not scoring runs as a batsman might bring other things into the equation which isn’t necessarily true.

“It’s because when he bats like that, everyone’s behind him and knows exactly what he can do.

“For Rooty to get those runs, he’ll be feeling very good but he also knows that there’s more runs to be had and there’s another partnership to get into and can we extend this and can we stretch the game in our favour.”

Root’s 177-run stand alongside Burns came a day after England seamer Stuart Broad had said: “If you’re a batsman, you’d want to bat out there.”

Broad added that Burns was the key batsman on a surface that was benign for most of the day, allowing the Surrey captain and Root to accumulate steadily against a willing but largely nonthreatening attack

Asked whether the words of Broad were still ringing in his ears Burns, who was dropped twice on Saturday night, said: “I didn’t read that - he told me.

“I’m not sure he said that I was the key wicket, he just said that he fancied me, slightly. I’m glad that I made his words come true.

“I just tried to apply myself for as long as I could, it came to a slightly disappointing end but I thought I played quite well.”