Dubai: After Jason Holder, the West Indies Test captain, won the first round of his battle of allrounders against his counterpart Ben Stokes - a backlash from the latter seemed to be around the corner. It came soon enough in the second Test at the Old Trafford, where Stokes’ match haul of 254 runs and three wickets helped the hosts bounce back to make the series 1-1 and set up the third Test as a decider.
“He’s Mr Incredible, I suppose,” Root said, comparing Stokes to the muscular cartoon superhero. “He looks a bit like him, and will probably end up the same shape too.
“I think the sky is the limit for him really, when you watch how he goes about things, there’s no reason why he can’t keep performing this consistently.” Even in their four-wicket defeat in the series opener at Southampton Stokes managed 89 runs and six wickets, leading the side while Root attended the birth of his second child.
“I think everyone understands that we are watching a player at the peak of his powers, at the peak of world cricket, delivering time and time again,” Root said.
“We have to savour that, we have to appreciate that and understand that we are - without trying to pump his tyres too much - in the presence of greatness.”
I think everyone understands that we are watching a player (Stokes) at the peak of his powers, at the peak of world cricket, delivering time and time again
Stokes was also a key player for England last year, pushing them to a thrilling 50-overs World Cup final win and smashing an unbeaten century to ensure victory in an Ashes test against Australia at Headingley.
Root said the 29-year-old had added “different gears” to his game.
Holder, meanwhile, bemoaned his team’s lack of grit and felt their tentative batting allowed their opponents to level the series on Monday.
The tourists needed to bat out 85 overs on the final day to secure a draw but lasted 70.1 overs before succumbing to a 113-run defeat as England squared the series 1-1.
“English bowlers tend to bowl some long spells and we fought through pretty decent periods in the game but maybe (we need) a little bit more grit, a little bit more determination to get through one or two challenging spells,” Holder said after the loss at Old Trafford.
“More or less when we’ve found ourselves in challenging spells, we’ve succumbed to it, probably at the end of a really good spell.” “Too many of our batters got caught on the crease, something that we’ve really got to pay a little bit more attention to.
“On a surface like this you’ve really got to commit forward or back and into a position to make a good decision over whether to play or leave.” Thanks to their victory at home last year, West Indies need a draw in the decider, beginning at Old Trafford on Friday, to retain the Wisden Trophy.
“We’re here to fight, I’m sure the guys are really feeling this loss and we can go into this last game and give it our all,” Holder added.