After India amassed a huge 350 run lead in the second innings at the rescheduled Edgbaston Test, English duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow managed to put up one of the most memorable chases in recent history. Their fourth wicket partnership crossed 200 runs with relative ease, helping England to make it 2-2 in the five match Test series.

While most of the eyes were on Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root performed in a momentous fashion. With a beautiful knock of 142*(173), the 31-year-old registered his 28th Test century, also his fifth of the ongoing year. The knock also helped Root to become the first-ever English batter to score five or more Test centuries in a calendar year.  

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If there was a word that could describe Joe Root, it would have to be consistency. In what was the most dismal year (2021) in history for the English cricket team, when they lost nine Test matches (the most in a calendar year), Root emerged as a ray of hope by scoring 1708 runs — the third-highest ever by a batter in a single calendar year. But it was just the beginning of his excellence. 

In the last 18 months, Root has scored 2632 runs in Tests in 24 matches. He has also scored 11 centuries in the period. However, as mind boggling as it sounds, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith have failed to score any!

However, despite the Englishman’s surreal form in the past 18 months, his career, along with the others of the Fab Four will be judged over their entire career. While Kohli, Williamson and Smith’s numbers have taken a hit in recent years, it is that Root has only just caught up with them.

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Root has 28 Test centuries in his kitty currently, from 118 matches. Meanwhile, Kohli has just one less from 102 matches and Smith from 86. In fact, when Kohli and Smith registered their 27th Test century, they did it in less than 90 matches (84 and 75 respectively).

Speaking about averages, it was only after the second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge that Root (50.20) managed to overtake Kohli (49.95). The Englishman is still a long way from overtaking Kane Williamson (52.8) and Steve Smith (59.77). It is clear that Root is moving upwards, however, whether he will be able to claim the top spot is anybody’s guess.