WI v Eng, 3rd ODI: Joe Root's maiden century caps England's series win

Skilful and clever ton shows Yorkshire man is capable of playing the Trott role...

Last Updated: 06/03/14 9:53am

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Joe Root's skilful century in England's series-clinching win over West Indies proves he has what it takes to bat at number three in the 50-over side, says Nick Knight.

Root was named man-of-the-match after striking 107 off 122 balls at four in the order, eclipsing Jos Buttler, who contributed 99 to England's total of 303-6 in the third one-day international in Antigua.

Denesh Ramdin (128) replied for the hosts with his first ODI hundred but could not prevent England from securing a 25-run victory to claim the series 2-1.

"England invest a lot of time and effort in Root and sometimes you think 'what is it about him that impresses the selectors?'" said Knight.

"This innings showed he's very clever and very skilful at finding the gaps. He hasn't got the power of the modern player but he sweeps and reverse sweeps well.

"It wasn't easy up front because there was a little bit of indifferent pace and bounce and he copped one hard on the thumb but he recovered quickly.

"I don't think he was quite picking [Sunil] Narine but he was clever enough to play him off the pitch and played him off the back foot to give himself that little bit of extra time.

Count

"Root plays a little bit like Jonathan Trott in terms of his role in the side.

"Sometimes he'll score at under a run-a-ball and therefore if you are going to do that you have to bat through the innings and make it count at the end.

"If he is going to play like that then number three is not a bad sport for him.

"He also works hard on his off-spin, so that works for him, and he got a hundred in the warm-up game so he's back in prime form.

"It will be interesting to see where he goes in the Twenty20 line-up. Do they put him at the top end of the order or do they go with Eoin Morgan and Buttler at three and four and slide Root down to five?

"I think they'll try to put him ahead of Morgan at the top end of the order. If so now's the time to do it because he's in good form."

Lesson

Buttler helped Root put on 175 for England's fifth-wicket, striking seven fours and four sixes in a fast-paced 84-ball innings.

Although he fell short of his century, Knight said Buttler had proved himself a formidable opponent.

"The Australians were reflecting on what they'd seen from England at the end of the one-day tour this winter and they were mighty impressed with this lad," explained Knight.

"How do you set a field to him? He can hit you down the ground and he can hit it back over the wicketkeeper's head.

"Buttler sent a message out today. He came in ahead of Ravi Bopara. That may have been because they wanted to give him some time at the crease with the World T20 coming up.

"I hope a lesson has been learnt here because I think this lad bats too low in all forms of one-day cricket. I don't think he should bat lower than four in Twenty20 cricket and I think he should bat for more than just the last 10-15 overs of a 50-over game."

Smarter

England and the West Indies now turn their attentions to 20-over cricket, contesting the first of three matches on Sunday ahead of this month's ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Despite the change in format, Knight believes the series victory will stand England in good stead for the upcoming challenge - not least because it has shown where they need to improve.

"It was an excellent day all round for England - you've got to give them lots of credit," he said.

"They went 1-0 down in the series with a side that is slightly experimental. But they've come back and shown a lot of character and fight and Stuart Broad can feel proud of his boys.

"England's bowling was a little bit naïve towards the end and when games do tight, as they may well do during the World Twenty20, they'll need to be a little bit smarter and more savvy but they finally got the yorker right."

He added: "The result of this series is important because it is going to promote confidence but actually what's more important is where are they positioning themselves management-wise and on selection for the Twenty20, and the form of the players.

"My gut feeling before this series started was that Michael Lumb might just have been on the outside of selection for the T20s. But you'd have to say that he's played himself into the T20 side. Alex Hales is injured but he may be back for the first game.

"So could Hales and Lumb open - and has Luke Wright played himself out of selection?"

Watch the first Twenty20 between the West Indies and England live on Sky Sports this Sunday from 6pm on Sky Sports 2 HD.

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