England v Pakistan, Second Test, Day Two Analysis
Pakistan 57 for 4 (Masood 30*, Misbah 1*, Woakes 3-18) trail England 589 for 8 dec (Root 254, Cook 105) by 532 runs
At the end of day one England had laid the foundations for a big first innings score and on day two Joe Root built on those foundations and ended up scoring 254 of England’s mammoth total of 589 for 8 declared.
Resuming on 141 not out, Root continued to show the discipline and concentration of the first day and maintained a similar strike rate until after he reached 200 when he accelerated as England eyed a declaration.
Root scored off each of the four frontline bowlers at a similar rate, scoring 209 runs off 369 balls delivered by them – a combined strike rate of 56.63. Root capitalised on the part-time bowling of Azhar Ali and Shan Masood however, scoring 45 runs off 37 balls – a combined strike rate of 121.62.
The foundation of Root’s innings was his discipline on day one and early on day two. Arriving at the crease in the eighth over of the innings with England 25 for 1 and the new ball swinging Root showed excellent patience and care outside off stump. Over the whole course of his innings Root played no shot to 91 deliveries, that is 22.41% of his balls faced. Root’s forward and back foot defensive shots totalled 106 from which just 15 runs were scored.
Discounting balls that Root played no shot to or defended leaves 209 remaining balls from which Root scored 239 runs. This suggests an efficient attacking player.
Root played 211 shots off the front foot scoring 119 runs and played 155 shots off the back foot scoring 120 runs. His other runs were accrued from coming down the pitch and from shots with footwork categorised as “no movement”.
Root had a slightly higher boundary percentage, 7.58%, when playing off the front foot compared to the back foot, 6.45%, but had a considerably lower dot ball percentage, 47.09%, when playing off the back foot compared to the front foot, 69.19%.
These numbers suggest Root plays off the back foot more when rotating the strike and off the front foot more when looking for boundaries.
Root’s most prolific shot was the drive which earned him 71 runs from 62 shots including ten fours. His next two most prolific modes of scoring were to ‘work’ the ball, 53 off 62, and to ‘push’ the ball, 37 off 41 – just 12 of those 90 runs were boundaries.
Root also played sweeps, slog sweeps, cuts, upper cuts and pulls in an innings which although considered saw him score runs all around the ground.
Indeed, Root scored 134 runs on the off side and 120 runs on the leg side and scored 147 runs in front of square and 107 behind square. His favoured sector of the wagon wheel was through cover, where he scored 68 runs.
While Root was able to control the threat of the seamers by leaving a lot of deliveries outside off stump and making them bowl to him he was less able to do that to Yasir from whom a higher percentage of balls threatened the stumps.
Largely due to Yasir’s fuller average length Root played 63.63% of deliveries from him off the front foot, scoring 47 runs at a strike rate of 51.64. Root played a smaller percentage, 23.77%, off the back foot, but scored at a greater strike rate of 66.66 suggesting he looked to capitalise on balls dropped short by the leg-spinner.
Speaking after play, Root said that when playing against spin “you want to make sure you get right out there and nullify spin or get deep in your crease, let it spin and then hit it at the top of its bounce.” Our system only recorded two of Root’s shots against Yasir as having ‘no movement’ footwork suggesting he did indeed commit to play off either foot and rarely got stuck in between.