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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

Embarrassed Joe Root won't 'drop the mic' again

England batsman does not think 'it will be the last I hear of it from the group' referring to teammates' reaction at end of final ODI against India

Getting England captain Joe Root out will be key to Virat Kohli's chances of leading India to a Test series win. Getty Images
Getting England captain Joe Root out will be key to Virat Kohli's chances of leading India to a Test series win. Getty Images

Joe Root is keen to utilise his experience batting against spinner Kuldeep Yadav in limited-overs cricket during England's upcoming Test series with India.

But Test captain Root made it clear one of the biggest lessons he had learnt from a one-day international series-clinching hundred at his Headingley home ground on Tuesday was never to repeat his unusual celebration.

When the Yorkshire batsman hit the winning boundary that both took him to exactly 100 not out and clinched an eight-wicket win with 33 balls to spare that saw England seal a 2-1 success in a three-match series, he dropped his bat.

It was an echo of the 'mic-drop' end of set routine favoured by rock stars and comedians, and far removed from the traditional cricket gesture of raising the bat to acknowledge a hundred.

'Embarrassing'

"It was something that I immediately regretted," Root said. "I've not heard the end of it, it was literally the most embarrassing thing I've done on a cricket field.

"I don't think it will be the last I hear of it from the group - they've been hammering me," he added of the reaction of his England teammates.

Far more encouraging for England was the return to form of Root, who had struggled against Kuldeep, who as a left-arm wrist-spinner is a rarity in world cricket.

Kuldeep had Root stumped by MS Dhoni for nought in the first Twenty20 at Old Trafford and then snared him lbw for just three during India's eight-wicket victory in the ODI series opener at Trent Bridge last week.

Root was not the only home batsman to struggle against Kuldeep, with the bowler's stunning return of 6-25 in Nottingham the best by any spinner against England in ODI cricket.

But it was a different story at Lord's on Saturday, where Root's 113 not out saw England to an 86-run win that levelled things up at 1-1 before his national record 13th ODI hundred completed a come-from-behind 2-1 win in a three-match series.

England could face Kuldeep in Test cricket too after he was included on Wednesday in India's squad for the first three fixtures of a five-match series that starts at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground on August 1.

Root, speaking before India unveiled that squad, said he had gone back to basics in working out how to play Kuldeep rather than use the Merlyn spin-bowling machine for practice.

"I didn't use Merlyn on this occasion. I looked at the three balls I faced and got out to - one thing that's very easy to do is over-analyse things, over-think things," Root explained.

"I felt like I was picking him [Kuldeep] fine and when you look at it for what it actually was, both games my movements weren't quick enough and I wasn't getting close enough to the ball, either going forward or back.

"The best players of spin in the world, their footwork is always sharp and when that contact point is there, you're as still as possible," added Root, who said his training regime was "literally under-arm feeds, trying to get close to the ball, simple as that and the mind-set of either giving myself as much time as possible or smothering the spin."

Kuldeep Yadav, centre, fared well in the limited-overs series but could not stop Joe Root in the final ODI. Peter Cziborra / Reuters
Kuldeep Yadav, centre, fared well in the limited-overs series but could not stop Joe Root in the final ODI. Peter Cziborra / Reuters

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England, who in limited-overs cricket are captained by Eoin Morgan, are now No 1 in the ODI rankings and among the favourites to win next year's World Cup on home soil.

But they are fifth in an equivalent International Cricket Council Test table topped by India.

Root urged the Test side to follow the England one-day team's desire for individual and collective improvement, which was fuelled in part by a woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"It's something we are trying really hard to replicate within the Test team," Root said.

"Hopefully over time, and it's not something that will happen overnight, we'll see big improvements long-term within the group," added the 27-year-old player, now second in the latest ICC ODI batting rankings, behind India captain Virat Kohli, published on Wednesday.

"It's about putting the hard yards in and doing that extra bit of work and sometimes doing the stuff that doesn't always make you feel good but ultimately will make you a better player."

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