Ashes 2013-14: Joe Root keeps smiling through heat of the sledging battle

 

No one is saying what is being said out in the middle as the Ashes sledging war rages. Safe to assume that the players are not asking for addresses to send Christmas cards.

The fourth day of the second Test was replete with what the players like to call banter and to the rest of the population is threatening behaviour.

As the teams walked off the field, Stuart Broad headed straight for Mitchell Johnson and Matt Prior was seen exchanging words with Brad Haddin, honorary vice-presidents of the wicketkeepers’ sledging club. With three matches to go in the series there is plenty of scope for it to become much more heated yet. It seems the match referee, Jeff Crowe, is powerless.

Joe Root, who played extremely assiduously for his 87, appeared to meet the disdain to which he was regularly subjected with a toothy Yorkshire grin. He was youthful innocence personified.

“I didn’t feel there was anything going on out there,” he said. “You want to play hard cricket, and it’s Ashes cricket – you’d expect that. You’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a bit of rivalry and what have you. I think it makes entertaining cricket to watch.”

He is right about that. There is something compelling about players going toe to toe and the crowd clearly adored it.

“It’s certainly good to be involved in that in the middle,” Root said. “You know you’re in a battle. You know you’ve got to fight for your country. I think you’ve got to find your own way of doing it.”

Root would not reveal what was said to him. Actually, he smiled disarmingly as he had at Johnson when he was asked. It is a wonderful strategy.

“Individuals have ways of handling themselves at the crease, and you’ve got to try to find a way that will help England be successful,” he said.

“I think they were just trying to get under my skin, and hoping they could find a way to get me out. I’d expect any team to do that. It’s good confrontation.”

This was probably Root’s most complete innings for England, including the 180 he made against Australia at Lord’s last summer. It possessed authority, composure and assured shot selection. He took on the best Johnson could offer without demur. The debate about his position at  No 3 ahead of Ian Bell should be stilled for the moment.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss