International Cricket

New captain, same feat: Joe Root’s majestic unbeaten century shattered many records on Day 1

The Yorkshireman became the fourth consecutive England skipper to score a hundred in his first game.

New job, new era but an England captain once again started things off with a hundred. It was not the easiest of starts for Joe Root, his country’s 80th Test skipper. At end of day one at Lord’s against the South Africans, the Yorkshireman was unbeaten on 184, remarkable considering the repair work he was left with as his side were reduced to 76/4 on a lively batting wicket in front of a sell-out crowd.

He had to see off an outstanding Vernon Philander, who dented the England top order in the first session, picking up three scalps. Root survived two close but hard catching opportunities. He also survived a stumping opportunity, although well set at the time as spinner Keshav Maharaj was guilty of overstepping.

Underlining his abilities as one of the few three-dimensional cricketers of his generation – he averages 40 and more across formats – he switched gears post bringing up his 12th three figure score. The 26-year-old belted the weary Protea bowling attack to all parts in the final session along with ample help from Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.

Here is a look at the records Root stumbled upon on at Lord’s:

  • Root became the fourth consecutive England Test skipper to score a hundred in their first game – Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook had also brought up three-figures scores.
  • Overall, Root was the sixth England captain to get a hundred on debut. Previously, Archie McLaren, Allan Lamb, Strauss, Pietersen and Cook had achieved the feat.
  • Incidentally, Root’s contemporaries and media-built batting rivals, Australia’s Steve Smith and India’s Virat Kohli had also notched up hundreds in their first game as their side’s skipper. Another competitor, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson came close, scoring 91 against Zimbabwe last year.  
  • Love affair with the home of cricket: Root became the quickest to bring up 1000 runs at Lord’s, taking just 17 innings to get to the landmark. The previous record was held by Andrew Strauss, who had taken 19 innings to get to the 1000-run mark.
  • Root’s unbeaten 184 is now the highest for an English captain in his first game, going past Cook’s 173 against Bangladesh in 2010. 
  • Root is only 55 short of the highest score made by a captain in his first game, which is a 49-year-old record held by New Zealand’s Graham Dowling, who made 239. West Indies veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the only other batsman to have registered a double century in his first match.
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