Jimmy Anderson backs ‘superhuman’ Joe Root to break Cook’s England record

After Joe Root surpassed Graham Gooch’s tally of 8,900 Test runs, Jimmy Anderson has said that he is “absolutely” backing his England captain to make it the top of the list. That feat would require Root to overhaul his predecessor, Alastair Cook, whose total stands some way off at 12,472.

“Every time he goes out there he is just class,” said Anderson, “and today he looked class from ball one.” Root had come to the crease against India at Lord’s with England 23 for two – and with Mohammed Siraj on a hat‑trick, after Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed had fallen in consecutive deliveries.

But Root weathered the hat-trick ball and piloted England through choppy waters to leave them 119 for three at the close, chasing India’s first-innings score of 364.

“When you see your captain go out and play like that on a hat-trick ball, it does seem to have a really calming effect on the dressing room,” said Anderson, “so I’m sure there’s much more to come from him.

“Joe’s been amazing through his career and this last 12 months in particular. With everything that we’ve been through with the pandemic and the pressures on this team, to be able to captain the side and perform the way he has been is nothing short of superhuman.”

Anderson, who added his own name to the honours board again with his seventh five-wicket haul at Lord’s, also had words of encouragement for his fellow England bowlers. He said the group were “still trying to feel our way and get some rhythm” after their lack of red‑ball cricket.

The 39-year-old Anderson was an injury worry the day before this Test began, having undergone a scan for stiffness in a quad. But the bowler said the Lord’s ground where he made his Test debut and took his first ever Test five-fer “does seem to bring the best out of me”.

“Certainly the last few times I’ve come here you think: ‘Will this be my last time playing here?’” he said. “So hopefully it’s not my last time here, and hopefully it’s not my last time on the honours board.”