Thursday 23 November 2017

Root hails Stokes aggression

England's Joe Root (Getty)
England's Joe Root (Getty)

Mark Gleeson

Centurion Joe Root saluted the contribution of Ben Stokes after England ended the second day of the third Test on 238-5, 75 runs behind South's Africa's first-innings total.

The visitors slumped to 91-4 but were rescued by Root (106 not out) and Stokes (58) as the pair shared a swashbuckling stand of 111 for the fifth wicket in under 16 overs.

Stokes carried on where he left off at the second Test in Cape Town, where he bludgeoned 258.

"He takes pressure off you at the other end when he comes in and plays that aggressively," Root said of his partner's 54-ball knock. "When you see someone scoring like that at the other end, putting the bowlers under pressure, it brings it out in your own game as well.

"The slips come out and the men go to the boundaries. You can then run well between the wickets because there are gaps available."

Root, who brought up his ninth Test century in 126 balls, said he had been disappointed with his recent conversion rate.

"It was a bit of a relief when I managed to get past three figures," he added. "It's about making sure that when you get opportunities to make big runs you take them.

"Unfortunately recently I've not managed to do that so now is the time to push on and really make a big one."

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has backed Mohammad Amir to get "better and better" after the paceman took a wicket on his return to international cricket following his ban for spot-fixing.

Amir had served a five-year ban from the sport - as well as from a jail sentence - after being convicted of a conspiracy to bowl no-balls to order during Pakistan's Test series against England in 2010.

The 23-year-old made his Pakistan return yesterday and his figures of 1-31 helped towards a 16-run win over New Zealand in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

Amir's participation had been the cause of consternation among some players past and present but Waqar was happy with his display.

"I'm very pleased with Amir's comeback," he said. "I thought he bowled pretty okay. He'll get better and better."

South Africa v England, Live, Sky Sports 2, 8.00

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