Joe Root is hoping Yorkshire can wrap up victory over Glamorgan tomorrow and leave him reflecting on what he feels is one of his best knocks in county colours.
Root completed a sensational 99 in difficult conditions on day three at Sophia Gardens and went a long way to giving the White Rose a realistic victory chance on day four of this LV= Insurance County Championship fixture.
The England Test captain has scored hundreds and double hundreds for his beloved county during his illustrious career, but this knock was surely right up there amongst the best.
“I’d probably say so, but I generally judge my innings at the end of the game,” he said. “If we win, it will mean more.”
Root shared 118 for the ninth wicket with Steve Patterson to help Yorkshire recover their first innings from 111-8 to 230 all out, securing a lead of 81.
Patterson finished 47 not out, with Glamorgan later closing on 108-3 in their second innings, a lead of 27.
“It’s been tough (to bat) throughout the game so far,” said Root, who has posted the only score above 50 from either side.
“With them 27-3 in effect in their second innings, we feel like we’re in a really good position. At one stage, we were looking at a deficit.
“It was a really crucial partnership, and we managed to sneak a batting point at the end, which is always nice.
“It was tricky and seaming around. It was more the extra bounce off the live grass that was the real challenge. You just had to find a way. It wasn’t about thinking too technically.
“The ball got quite soft, which played in our favour having been wet this morning.
“Patto kept the straight ones out pretty well. He played and missed, but played the line pretty well. As soon as he got any width, he put his hands through it.
“When the field goes back, it can release the pressure on the batting side. And that’s certainly what it felt like for us. We just tried to take everything we could and not hog the strike or anything. It worked out well.”
On his own score – one run short of a 32nd first-class century – Root said: “You do feel the disappointment, but in the context of things I’ll look back on my innings very fondly if we win this game.
“We’ve certainly set ourselves up for tomorrow.
“I wasn’t as fluent today as I felt yesterday.
“I felt a bit ropey and crudded it around a bit to start with.
“Sometimes you have to spend time at the crease, and I knew it would get easier and easier.”
Root chopped on to Dan Douthwaite after tea, a dismissal which the seamer has since revealed was predicted by his team-mate Kiran Carlson whilst fielding at mid-off.
“I was telling him at the time to go away and let me focus on my bowling,” said Douthwaite. “That is the first time I have had someone predict a wicket and it has actually happened!”
Root described it as a “poor shot”.
Unfortunately, debutant Harry Duke fell for a golden duck on debut as Yorkshire slipped to 111-8, with Root at the other end at the time.
The England Test skipper, though, had plenty of encouragement for the 19-year-old who was out caught whilst pulling.
He added: “He had a massive smile on his face. He didn’t look nervous or overwhelmed by the situation. I think it’s a shot he plays well and it brings him a lot of runs. He just didn’t quite get it right on this occasion.
“I remember my first knock in first-class cricket. I got nought. You have got to take the rough with the smooth. That can happen.
“I’m sure you’ll see him play many more of those strokes for four in the near future.
“His attitude throughout the whole game, and everything I’ve seen of him, has been exemplary.”