Root equals de Villiers' record

England skipper's purple patch has put him in elite company

Joe Root’s name was etched in Test cricket’s history books on Friday alongside one of the game’s greatest batsmen.

In the afternoon session on the opening day of the second Test against the West Indies at Headingley, Root reached his 31st Test match half-century and his 12th in as many Tests.

The dozen successive Tests with a score of 50 or more equals the mark set by superstar South Africa batsman AB de Villiers in 2014.

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Root’s streak started in October last year with 56 against Bangladesh in Dhaka and continued against India in the subcontinent, South Africa at home and now the West Indies.

The prolific period has seen the England skipper average 54 and post three centuries in the process, one fewer than de Villiers accumulated during his record run.

However, Root’s innings on day one should have been terminated when he was on eight.

Regulation catch put down // Getty
Regulation catch put down // Getty

The 26-year-old, who is captaining England on his home ground in Leeds for the first time, was dropped at first slip by Kieran Powell from the bowling of Shannon Gabriel.

He was out nine runs after tying de Villiers’ mark, toe-ending a sweep shot off leg-spinner Davindra Bishoo to first slip and left the field visibly upset at his dismissal.

Dismay after his dismissal // Getty
Dismay after his dismissal // Getty

Having taken over the captaincy from Alastair Cook at the start of the northern summer, Root’s form with the bat has not suffered with the extra responsibility.

In six matches in charge to date, the right-hander has averaged 65.60 at the helm, with two centuries, including 190 on captaincy debut at Lord’s.

Root and England return to Lord’s for the third and final Test against the West Indies early next month before their next Test assignment – the Magellan Ashes in Australia.