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England captain Joe Root has left the cricket world in a frenzy after equalling an extraordinary batting record in the third Test against India.
On a day where the national side's players wore black armbands to honour the memory of legendary former Test captain Ted Dexter, England's current skipper stood tall.
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Continuing the best form of his life, Root scored his third century of the series against India to move England into prime position to win the third Test at Headingley.
Batting in front of his home crowd in Yorkshire, Root plundered 121 runs for his sixth ton in 11 appearances since the turn of the year.
The "phenomenal" feat sees Root equal the national record of six calendar year centuries held by Denis Compton and Michael Vaughan.
With an aggregate of 1,398 in that time, and an average of 69.90, the 30-year-old is entering a batting stratosphere that few ever get to experience.
Root, whose remarkable scoring run this year contains two double centuries including one against India in Chennai, is also the first England captain to score six centuries in a calendar year.
With an innings and two further matches in the current series against India to come, plus an Ashes series against Australia at the end of the year, it would take a brave person to bet against Root adding another century and holding the England record outright.
If the England skipper can maintain his incredible consistency for the rest of the year, then Mohammad Yousuf's all-time record of nine calendar year centuries in 2006 could also be in his sights.
The England captain's remarkable run of form has drawn widespread praise across the cricket world, with England teammate Dawid Malan anointing him as a "great" of the sport.
"He is phenomenal isn't he? He just scores runs all the time," Malan said, after chipping in with 70 runs on his return to the England side.
"You look at all the best players that have played - all the greats, if you want to put it that way - and as soon as you miss your line and your length, they hurt you. Joe is one of those.
"It's great to watch and it's great to have the best seat in the house when he does play as well as that. It's the ease of what he does and the speed at which he does it.
"He just moves his feet so well and his position when he hits the ball is so good...he hits the ball so much later than most people. He always looks to score with intent, you know if you bowl a bad ball he just puts you away."
Joe Root hammers home England's advantage
"There's so much you can learn as a young player from Joe Root," said England opener Haseeb Hameed, who weighed in with 68.
"He's of the highest class but, for me, what stands out is the simplicity of his game.
"He plays like he has so much time, he's so diligent and also the mental side of things, to turn up and perform in every innings shows how hungry he is."
India, dismissed for 78 in just 40.4 overs on Wednesday, had no answer to Root's array of shotmaking on his home Yorkshire ground and the fans in Headingley's raucous Western Terrace serenaded their man as he hit a boundary into the leg side to reach his century.
Root removed his helmet, leapt into the air and screamed 'yes!' before being lifted off his feet by teammate Jonny Bairstow.
Resuming on 0-120, England lost both openers - Rory Burns (61) and Hameed - before lunch to bring Root to the crease.
He shared a 139-run partnership with Dawid Malan, who was caught behind down the leg side off the final ball of the second session for 70 to end his impressive first Test innings since 2018.
Bairstow added 29, and both Jos Buttler (7) and Moeen Ali (8) fell cheaply either side of Root getting bowled by Jasprit Bumrah.
England still moved beyond 400 with a late flurry of runs, with Craig Overton (23) and Ollie Robinson (0) at the crease at stumps.
"Yesterday was pretty much a perfect day and today we were able to build on that," Hameed said. "We are very happy going into tomorrow."
England players wore black armbands in honour of Ted Dexter, the former England captain from the 1960s who died on Wednesday.
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