England captain Joe Root is renowned for his batting, but a devastating bowling spell against India has rocked the cricket world.
Last December, Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood stunned the cricket world by claiming 5/8 in a pink-ball Test match to leave India’s batting attack in tatters at Adelaide Oval.
ESPNcricinfo labelled it the bowling performance of the year, but just two months later, England captain Joe Root has replicated the rare feat with his part-time off spin.
Root secured his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket on Thursday, taking 5/8 in a devastating bowling spell to leave India’s batsmen reeling at Sardar Patel Stadium.
Watch every Test, T20 & ODI of England’s Tour of India Live & Ad-Break Free During Play with Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
England was bowled out for a pitiful 112 on day one of the third Test, with opening batsman Zak Crawley top-scoring with 53.
In reply, the hosts were seemingly cruising at 2/98 in the morning session, until Root and English tweaker Jack Leach combined to snare the eight remaining wickets for 47 runs.
The 30-year-old Root claimed the scalps of Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin before cleaning up the opposition tail.
Incredibly, Root had not taken a five-wicket haul in 161 first-class matches before this week’s Test against India.
JOE ROOT’S BEST BOWLING FIGURES IN TEST CRICKET
5/8 vs India, Feb 2021
4/87 vs South Africa, Jan 2020
2/0 vs Sri Lanka, Jan 2021
2/9 vs Australia, Jul 2013
Anticipating the pink ball to swing in Ahmedabad, England’s selectors only named one strike spinner for the day-night Test, while India named three in their starting XI.
India’s decision proved a masterstroke when their tweakers accounted for nine of the first-innings wickets.
Although the visitors only had Leach at their disposal, Root proved a more than capably ally at the other end.
The last England captain to take a five-wicket haul in Test cricket was the late Bob Willis, who achieved the feat most recently in 1983.
Root’s spell was also the most economical five-wicket haul in Test cricket by an English bowler since 1924.
The Yorkshireman also became just the third cricketer in history to take a five-wicket haul and score a double century in the same Test series.
And one more record-breaking feat — it was the fewest runs conceded for a five-wicket haul by a spin bowler in Test history, beating the previous record held by Australians Michael Clarke and Tim May.
BEST BOWLING FIGURES BY AN ENGLISH CAPTAIN IN MEN’S TEST CRICKET
Gubby Allen — 7/80 vs India, 1936
Arthur Gilligan — 6/7 vs South Africa, 1924
Bob Willis — 6/101 vs India, 1982
Joe Root — 5/8 vs India, 2021
To nobody’s surprise, England didn’t fare very well in their second innings either, the entire side rolled for 81 — their lowest ever Test score in India.
All-rounder Ben Stokes top-scored with 25 as the visitors set India a target of 48 for victory.
Left-arm tweaker Akshar Patel snared 5/32 in the second innings, finishing the match with career-best figures of 11/70.
Meanwhile, Indian veteran Ravichandran Ashwin claimed his 400th Test wicket on day two, becoming the fourth Indian to achieve the rare feat.
Neither of India’s strike seamers bowled a delivery in the second innings, the crumbling deck working miracles for the spinners.