Joe Root’s Test masterclass for England leaves Jonny Bairstow in awe

England captain Joe Root reeled off his fifth century of the year at Lord’s, standing head and shoulders above the crowd and changing the face of the second LV= Insurance Test against India on Saturday.

After his match-saving hundred at Trent Bridge last week, Root went big again at the home of cricket, undefeated through the entire third day to finish on 180 not out.

Since turning 30 in December Root has been in revelatory form, with knocks of 228 and 186 on the turning tracks of Galle, 218 against India in Chennai and 109 under serious pressure in the rain-affected draw at Nottingham.

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Among Englishmen only Denis Compton and Michael Vaughan have scored more hundreds in a calendar year and, with three more Tests remaining this summer, his current purple patch suggests he could join them on six sooner rather than later.

England's Joe Root celebrates his 150 during day three of the cinch Second Test match at Lord's (Picture: PA)

His latest instalment was another high-class example of his craft, resuming on his overnight score of 48 not out and adding another 132 in the next six and a half hours at the crease.

Control was the hallmark of Root’s innings, absorbing everything India threw at him on a serene surface and collecting 18 boundaries in the course of a 321-ball epic.

“He means a heck of a lot to us, like he does to English cricket,” purred his Yorkshire and England team-mate Jonny Bairstow. .

“To do what he’s done, to go into second place among leading run-scorers in the history of the English game is very special, to pass 9,000 Test runs in this game is extremely special, to score another 180 not out at Lord’s... I’ve run out of superlatives, to be honest.

England's Joe Root in action during day three against India (Picture: PA)

“It’s great to see him in the form that he’s in, playing the way he is and it’s awesome to be out there with him enjoying every single moment of it.”

Bairstow and Root go back a long way, back to age-group cricket in Yorkshire and all the way through the levels to the very highest stages of all.

As well as the professional pride that comes with clawing a Test match back from the brink, Bairstow was also beaming with a personal joy after sharing a stand of 121 with his friend and skipper to set the tone for the day.

“Joe and I, when we were walking out, we were just smiling at each other,” he explained.

“How good is it to walk out on a Saturday at Lord’s, with one of your best mates? That’s exactly what it was. We really enjoyed our partnership because it’s about having fun while you’re out there.

“To have a full crowd back at Lord’s, with the new stand here, with family and friends, it was really special. That Lord’s buzz, or hum, however you want to phrase it, was most definitely back.”

England’s final wicket fell to the very last ball of the day, James Anderson losing his off stump to Mohammed Shami, leaving things neatly poised for India’s second innings.

Anderson had been on the wrong end of some repeatedly hostile bowling before his dismissal and shared some heated words with India captain Virat Kohli as the pair walked off.

“We can come with fire in our bellies tomorrow. When Jimmy Anderson comes to bowl on Sunday, he’ll be ready,” noted Bairstow.

“We’ve got a new ball in our hands. So we’ll come in tomorrow, all firing. We’ve got guys that are able to challenge them in every way possible. We’ve got the pace of Mark Wood, we’ve got the swing of Jimmy, we’ve got the nip of Ollie Robinson, not to mention Sammy Curran.

“It’s going to be a really challenging day, hopefully for the Indians, and we’ll be looking to make sure we challenge every part of their game.”