Whilst Test captain, Joe Root was frequently indebted to the brilliance of Ben Stokes.

Having returned to the ranks under Stokes' leadership, the England number four is delighted to have begun to repay his debt to the new skipper.

Root produced an unbeaten 115 to see England to a five-wicket victory at Lord's, and became the second English batter, after Sir Alistair Cook, to pass 10,000 Test runs. 

“It has been a really enjoyable week,” Root said, at the conclusion of the first Test. 

“It is easy to say that when you get some runs but to see Ben go about his business, the way he has handled himself and the occasion, it has been really impressive. 

“For me to have a pretty big contribution in this one, it feels like a small way of paying him back for some of the brilliant moments he produced under my captaincy.

“It is a great way for Ben to start his tenure as captain, a really exciting time for the group and a nice way to start the summer. Hopefully we can kick on from here.”

The first opportunity to follow up their success is at Trent Bridge, the second of three matches in the series. 

Root has scored three centuries and two fifties in Test cricket at Nottinghamshire's home, averaging 67.44. 

But his focus is simply on contributing to a successful team, as England attempt to rediscover a winning habit.

“I think it is an important thing for the team to remember what winning is like,” the 31-year-old said. 

“It has been talked about a huge amount, and it can breed so much confidence. It is a fresh start with Ben and a way for us to look forward to doing things slightly differently under Brendon and him. Everyone should be excited by that and be confident. 

“To start with a win, we feel in a great spot going into next week.”

The former skipper did admit, however, that stepping down as captain has helped him elevate his craft. 

Last year, Root scored 1,708 Test runs, the third best haul in history, as he found form amidst a difficult period of results.

The right-hander felt he could split run-scoring and captaincy well, but that being able to concentrate solely on batting will only help his game.

“I just love batting,” he said.

“It felt towards the back end of my go as captain that I had found a way to manage my batting and separate the two well, but it was nice to go into the game and just focus completely on that, and trying to contribute as much as I can. 

“I felt like I left a few out there in the first innings so I was quite determined to make it count the second time around, and it was great to be there at the end.”


England versus New Zealand at our historic home

From James Anderson ripping through Australia, to Joe Root and Jos Buttler tons, day four fireworks are frankly commonplace at our historic home.

Secure your seats for day four of England against world champions New Zealand here…