Tell us what you think of the new cricket section at whatdoyouthink@bskyb.com

Don't show again

Joe Root is 'made of the right stuff', says Mike Atherton, after day two of fourth Test

Atherton blog

No ordinary Joe: Root seems to have the mental aptitude for international cricket, says Athers

Mike Atherton believes Joe Root has the mental capacity to flourish in Test cricket.

"You always look to see how a young player copes in a different environment at a higher level and Root looked at ease."

Mike Atherton

The Yorkshire youngster registered an obdurate 73 from 229 deliveries during England's first innings in the fourth Test - whilst batting in an unfamiliar role at number six - to help lift the tourists to a tally of 330 all out in Nagpur.

Root's exploits - as well those of seamer James Anderson, who captured three Indian wickets as the hosts were left reeling on 87-4 at stumps on day two, in a match they must win to draw the series - have given Alastair Cook's squad a strong foothold in the game.

And Atherton says comparisons are already being made between the 21-year-old right-hander, who opens for his county side, and one certain former England batsman.

"Root got England to an above-par score, considering the pitch and conditions, and into a position from which it will now be difficult to lose the game," Atherton told Sky Sports.

England take advantage

"You always look to see how a young player copes in a different environment at a higher level and he looked at ease.

"I never like to go overboard when a young player comes in and has one good innings - something we have a tendency to do in England.

"But he looks made of the right stuff and (England batting coach) Graham Gooch said he reminded him of me, to which I said he moves a bit like me - which is not very well!

"However, the White Rose (Root) and the Red Rose (Anderson) combined and England now have a grip on this match and this series is there for the taking."

Consistent

Sheffield-born Root was ably assisted by Matt Prior (57 runs from 142 balls) and Graeme Swann (56 from 91) and Atherton was impressed by both players' strokeplay - well, most of it anyway...

"Matt Prior is at the top of his game," added the ex-England skipper.

"He is very confident and consistent with the bat now and in the last year or two I think he has shown his ability to adapt to conditions and doesn't play the dasher all the time.

"Swann's batting has been a disappointment in recent times and this was his first half-century since 2009, and when you think of his talent and ability to strike the ball he has been underperforming.

"But the runs he got today were key - though it drives me wild when he plays this reverse sweep - which he doesn't do very well - instead of driving down the ground."

Don't miss any live and exclusive cricket coverage this festive season. Click here to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar.