Joe Root pays touching tribute to Shane Warne after guiding England to victory

Joe Root's unbeaten 115 helped England to a five-wicket win over New Zealand at Lord's

Joe Root’s unbeaten 115 helped England to a five-wicket win over New Zealand at Lord’s (Image: Getty)

Joe Root paid special tribute to Shane Warne after guiding England to victory over New Zealand in the first Test of the summer at Lord’s.

The Australian cricket legend died of a suspected heart attack in March and his tragic death transcended the cricket world.

Warne was close to several members of the current England team and backroom staff, including Root and his successor as Test captain Ben Stokes.

Ben Stokes saluted Joe Root following his Man of the Match performance for England against New Zealand (Image: Getty)

Ahead of England’s game against New Zealand, the commentary box at Lord’s was named in Warne’s honour, while on the first morning of the game the crowd rose like one in 23rd seat to greet one of the sport’s great entertainers and most prolific wicket-taker.

Root, meanwhile, made a sparkling return to base, his unbeaten 115 helping England usher in a new era under Stokes captain and new head coach Brendan McCullum with a five-wicket win.

Although England ultimately galloped to a win that looked unlikely at the time, Root felt a highly competitive, scoreless match was played in a spirit Warne would have appreciated.

He said: “It’s a nice feeling. It was one hell of a game and for Warney to remember that game with such aggressive cricket is fitting in many ways.

When asked how it felt to help Stokes get the best possible toast to his first test as skipper, Root added: “As many times as Ben has won us tests under my guidance, it’s a great opportunity for me to give him something return.

“I love to hit. I want to score as many runs as possible and win as many friendlies as possible. As long as I have the energy and drive to do it, I will do it. I couldn’t ask for a better person to lead this team.”

Stokes responded by hailing his longtime teammate, who joined an elite club by becoming just the 14th man in history to reach 10,000 Test runs, as one of the best in the world.

“It’s important to him to win for England,” said Stokes. “He won us the game after stepping down as captain. It was special. It’s great to see him again. He doesn’t have to worry about that – just worry about scoring runs.

“Joe is one of the best in the world. One of the best Test match batsmen England will have for a long time. No one is surprised and you could see how emotional he walked away.’

MORE: Alastair Cook sends message to England’s ‘most complete batsman’ as Joe Root joins elite club

MORE: Ian Botham gives his verdict on Ben Stokes replacing Joe Root as England Test captain

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cricket Joe Root pays touching tribute to Shane Warne after guiding England to victory

Nate Jones

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