England captain Joe Root revealed his recent lean patch had left him irritated rather than worried after returning to form with a titanic 226 in the second Test against New Zealand.
There were question marks over whether leading the side was hindering Root’s batting as his average stood at 27.4 in his 10 previous Tests this year, but his double hundred on day four at Hamilton was his first on foreign soil.
It was also his highest score since assuming the captaincy nearly three years ago while he becomes the first visiting skipper to reach 200 in New Zealand, which set up a slim prospect of a series-levelling victory overnight.
Root said: “I’ve always felt like it was close. It’s been more of a frustration that it’s not really happened rather than a worry. It’s obviously very pleasing but ultimately it would be nice for it to really mean something.
“I’ve felt like my game has been pretty much there, you just sometimes need a bit behind you and a few extra runs.
“It’s the business we’re in, unfortunately, sometimes you can be playing as well as you want but you need the scores; it’s what wins you games.”
I’ve felt like my game has been pretty much there, you just sometimes need a bit behind you and a few extra runs.Joe Root
The docile nature of the Seddon Park surface led to Root battling hard and the 441 balls he faced and 636 minutes he spent at the crease meant it was the longest innings of his career.
Root added: “I found a really good rhythm out there and felt pretty comfortable and just wanted to keep going.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had that amount of time out in the middle and you get really hungry for it sometimes. I felt like I got a groove going and wanted to keep it going as long as I could.
“I’ve been picking my hands up nicely this week and felt more like my normal self when I’m playing well.
“I felt busy at the crease and had a real good intent to score.
“It wasn’t quite as free-flowing as it has been in the past but I don’t think that was due to lack of mindset or anything like that, it was more the conditions, the nature of the pitch and the slower outfield.”
Root had Ollie Pope for company for almost all of his time at the crease on the penultimate day. The pair put on a 193-run stand in 62.3 overs, with the Surrey youngster contributing a Test-best 75.