Thursday July 6 was a landmark day in the life of Joe Root.
Yesterday, he led his country for the first time in the eagerly anticipated first Test of the summer against South Africa at the home of cricket.
Despite losing several early wickets to the visitor’s dangerous three-pronged seam attack of Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, England recovered to finish the day on a commanding 357-5.
Having taken over from Alastair Cook, it was Yorkshireman Root who was mainly responsible for the excellent recovery, caressing his way to a fluent 184 not out off 222 balls in a dream debut performance as skipper.
While he was aided by JP Duminy dropping a sharp chance at gully before lunch, it was an otherwise assured knock by England’s number four which gave little indication of any nerves on his first day in office.
However, rewinding several hours to the morning’s toss, the naivety and nerves of a fledgling captain were on show.
Apparently unaware that in fixtures of this magnitude the umpires provide the coin tossed by the home captain, Root decided to give himself a safety net.
Alongside the team sheet, he brought his own one pound coin out to the middle.
Needless to say, the match officials promptly explained that this wasn't a match on the local village green and presented an embarrassed Root with the official coin.
Nick Hoult, cricket writer, reported Root’s explanation on Twitter: “I had a quid. I didn’t know they provided a coin. I didn’t want to look like a tight Yorkshireman who turned up with nothing.”
A hilarious blunder from Root, showing that even in the most professional of environments, elements of the amateur game can still shine through.
Joe managed the important part though, he won the toss and elected to bat first in glorious conditions and England will be looking to build on their strong position as day two progresses.
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