Joe Root remains grounded as 'dream' of Yorkshire Test hits home


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The Independent Online

Two Yorkshiremen will be making their first Test appearance on their home ground tomorrow. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are viewed by many as the future of England's batting and this match will be a significant step for them.

Not that Root exactly went misty-eyed at the prospect. To most questions, such as playing in Leeds, Yorkshire's marketing of the game as "Root's Test" and whether he wanted one day to open the Test batting, he said: "I've not really thought about it."

But Headingley was where Root, 22, started watching big-time cricket as a 10-year-old. He can recall seeing Sachin Tendulkar in a Test match at the ground and in the County Championship, Darren Lehmann, Jacques Rudolph and Anthony McGrath (although he actually played for Yorkshire with the latter two).

"You watch the game and as a kid your dream is to play for England and be a part of all that," Root said. "It's something that spurs you on and I just want to keep living my dream, really, and making the most of it.

"I'm really looking forward to this week. I'll do everything I can to prepare well but I'll take it one step at a time. I've grown up watching cricket and playing here, so I've obviously got connections that are quite close to me."

England will field the team that took a 1-0 lead in the series at Lord's on Sunday, which means there is no place for the third Yorkshireman in the squad, Tim Bresnan. But New Zealand have been forced into making changes.

Their captain, Brendon McCullum, will also keep wicket after B J Watling was ruled out following nets. Watling injured a knee in diving for a run-out chance at Lord's.

The former captain Daniel Vettori seems certain to play as a replacement for his injured fellow left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, who has left the tour because of a calf strain.

Vettori may not have played a Test since July but the tourists now need every bit of the experience 112 Tests have given him.