England bats like “rock stars” and makes record chasing in the 4th inning look easy

Joe Root has revealed England captain Ben Stokes inspired his record-breaking Test team to play “like rock stars”.

Set 378 to win at Edgbaston, a record run chase for England and the eighth-highest in all of Test history, Stokes’ side completed the challenge by a proud seven wickets.

England’s “boss”, head coach Brendon McCullum, blared Bruce Springsteen’s anthem “Glory Days” as England got there on the fifth morning and needed another 119 runs, while Root went even further back in the rock ‘n’ roll catalog as he made his 28th .Test ton.

After taking in the applause, Root raised his hand in the air and wiggled his pinky toward the dressing room, referring to a scene from the new Elvis Presley film.

“Ben wanted us to be entertainers. He’s mentioned trying to be rock stars on the field,” said Root, who amid an uninterrupted 269-win streak hit a commanding 142 with compatriot Bairstow (No. 114).

“It’s about trying to have fun and really enjoying every opportunity that comes along, to show what you stand for and put on a show for everyone. It’s like being a kid again, it’s great.

“I don’t think I’ll ever feel or look like a rock star, but for 10 seconds out there, I might have. That’s what the little pinkie party was about. Ben saw the Elvis movie the other day and he’s been doing it all week. It was a little tribute to him.”

For most of a successful career, Root has played for classical audiences rather than the mosh pit. But his introduction of an outrageous reverse ramp this summer showed he’s ready to turn up the volume. On his last try, he lifted Shardul Thakur over the third man for six, leaving the Indian sailor utterly confused.

“The Yorkshireman in me still says, ‘Hit in, play straight and get behind,'” said Root, shadowing a defensive shot forward.

“Then there’s the captain on my shoulder saying, ‘Be a rock star.’ So sometimes you fight between the two.

“If you look at the history of Test cricket, there were occasions where I might have played some unusual shots, but at the moment they felt like pretty low-risk options.

“Hopefully we’re still going into the unknown and there’s more to come. We just have to keep trusting and believing in what we’re doing. It’s been an incredible four weeks and I feel like there’s still a lot more potential, which is very exciting.”

Stokes said boldly, “Part of me almost wanted them to get 450 (up front) to see what we did.”

He added: “Teams may be better than us, but teams will not be braver than us – that’s a quote from [England offspinner] Jack Leach.

“The last five weeks have been an incredible turning point. I don’t think everyone can understand what happened here.”

© AAP England bats like "rock stars" and makes record chasing in the 4th inning look easy

Nate Jones

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