The independent voice of cricket


Joe Root feared for his captaincy during 2019 Headingley Ashes Test

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

Joe Root has revealed that he thought he was going to get sacked at the end of the 2019 Headingley Ashes Test, before Ben Stokes’ 135* helped England to a remarkable come-from-behind victory.

At the end of the second day, England looked on the verge of conceding their chance to reclaim the Ashes at the first possible opportunity, having been bowled out ignominiously for 67.

Asked by England teammate Chris Woakes, during a ‘Sky Easter Watchalong’ of the decisive fourth day of the Headingley Test, whether winning the Test was extra special due it coming in the Ashes at Root’s home ground, the skipper said it was that and other circumstances that made it a win to remember.

“Yeah, especially with the way the game went,” he said. “Two days ago we were 60-odd all out. I was thinking I was going to get sacked at the end of it. For it to turn out exactly how it did it was incredible really.

“The crowd, the noise was something we’ve not experienced in Test cricket for a long time. When you’ve got that and you’re pinching yourself watching some of the shots that Ben goes onto play. I remember walking out onto the middle to see Ben after the end of play, and the amount of people that were just throwing shoes and plastic glasses in the air was incredible really.”

Considering Root was fearing for his place as captain, his own innings takes on a new complexion. Facing a national-record chase, the right-hander made a composed 77 to set the platform for Stokes’ heroics.

After the incredible one-wicket win, hope sprung of England regaining the Ashes once again, and though Australia retained the urn in the following Test at Trent Bridge, the tone of the series had shifted, and England won at The Oval to secure a creditable draw. England director of cricket Ashley Giles has since said he sees Root continuing in his role until at least the end of the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99