'Whatever they get, we'll chase it' – Root lauds England's 'incredible' record chase against India

By Sports Desk July 05, 2022

Joe Root hailed England's "incredible" display with the bat after he and Jonny Bairstow starred in a historic 378-run chase against India, declaring: "Whatever they get, we'll chase it."

Having resumed at 259-3 before a lively Edgbaston crowd on Tuesday, England raced to their most impressive victory yet under the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime, with Root and Bairstow hitting centuries to complete the highest run chase in the hosts' history and claim a 2-2 draw in the delayed series.

The victory saw England surpass their 359-run chase against Australia in August 2019, as Root made his 28th Test ton in finishing 142 not out.

He and Bairstow registered the highest fourth-wicket partnership in the fourth innings of a men's Test (269), as well as England's fifth-highest fourth-wicket stand in any innings.

Bairstow, meanwhile, also became just the ninth player to hit four Test centuries in England in a calendar year as the home side's entertainers continued their red-ball revival.

England also recorded three successive chases of over 250 runs in their series whitewash of world champions New Zealand last time out, and Root says the team's fearlessness with the bat left them feeling in control throughout day five.

"It was pretty fun doing it. Throughout the whole summer, from that first game, we've said, 'whatever they get, we'll chase it'," Root told Sky Sports. "Ben said to us before the toss: 'We're not going to bat first, we're going to chase.'

"That's the mentality of how we're going about things at the minute. Once we got that partnership going, we just felt in full control.

"So much credit has to go to the two lads at the top [Alex Lees and Zak Crawley], the way they set the platform, the way they shifted the pressure straight back onto India.

"To smash that new ball around on a wicket that was doing a bit was just incredible batting. It really made the work that we had to do afterwards a lot easier. It really was a sublime partnership against a world-class attack.

"The feeling in the dressing room at the moment is 'whatever you get, we're going for it, and we're going to take it down'."

On a personal level, Root added he was enjoying his cricket again after stepping down as captain in April, saying successor Stokes has instilled a newfound ruthlessness in the side.

"When you're enjoying things it makes it a lot easier, you turn up to practice excited, you get out in the middle, and you're up for the contest," Root added.

"I feel in a really good place and I just need to make sure I maintain that. One thing that's worked for me is just accepting it's a game of failure, batting, and you're not going to get it right every time.

"It was good fun, like I said, there was a little bit on offer, but when you're putting pressure on bowlers it's very difficult for them to keep coming hard at you.

"We recognised crucial parts of pressure, I think we soaked it up well at times in the second innings, and then when we got our chances to put it back on them, we did it.

"We were ruthless with it, something that we might have lacked a bit in recent times – especially under my leadership!"

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