Root reserves judgement on where Wanderers ton ranks


Joe Root's century in the third Test against South Africa has been hailed as his finest by many, but the England batsman believes its value can only be judged once the match is completed.

In striking 106 not out from 131 balls, Root was central to a fine recovery from Alastair Cook's tourists at the Wanderers that saw England recover from 22-2 and 91-4 to close on 238-5 in reply to South Africa's first-innings total of 313 all out.

After surviving a few scares prior to lunch at the hands of Proteas debutant Hardus Viljoen, Root soon settled into his work and produced a number of eye-catching strokes in a counter-attacking fifth-wicket stand of 111 with Ben Stokes (58).

"I'm obviously very pleased at the moment," Root told the BBC when asked to rank his ninth Test hundred. "I think you'll have to ask me at the end of the game to get a true reflection on it.

"More than anything, it's about trying to go on now, make a really big score and get us some sort of substantial lead for the second innings so we can put them [South Africa] back under pressure."

Root hailed the influence of Stokes, who followed up his spectacular 258 in the second Test with another pugnacious, if somewhat briefer, contribution from number six.

"Ben takes the pressure off you at the other end when he plays that way and that aggressively," said Root in a news conference.

"The slips come out, there are men on the boundary and you can run well between the wickets because of those gaps available.

"Ben is not very talkative in the middle, which is completely different to off the field. He is a great craic in the dressing room but when he is out there batting it is all about concentrating as much as possible.

"We saw that last week and hopefully that great form can continue because he is becoming a really strong player in Test cricket."

Root received treatment on his left calf during his innings, but revealed he had merely been suffering from cramp.

"You lot must think I'm a drama queen," joked the 25-year-old. "I will be fine."