Root and Woakes’ T20 break puts them in fine fettle

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The cynical view may have been that England only released some of their Test squad to play T20 Blast cricket so that Yorkshire could get a win. But in the end, not even that helped.

Among the five men given a chance to play the shortest form of the game were White Rose pair Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, handily fast-tracked into Jason Gillespie’s struggling T20 side in time to face Lancashire in a high-profile derby.

The England duo could do nothing about the end result, as the Red Rose hosts cantered to a 26-run win, although Root did his best.

A blistering 51-ball 92 was the standout performance in the match. However, Root’s knock was in vain and Yorkshire’s Blast skid now stands at three losses in a row.

One side’s bad news is another team’s good though, as England will regain a batsman in superb form for the third Test with Sri Lanka.

Root is by no means in the Nick Compton-sphere of needing a score, but a player of his esteem doesn’t like to go too long without a century and his five-innings dry spell will be grating him. Especially after getting out for 80 at Chester-le-Street.

Like Root, Chris Woaks enjoyed a brief T20 break. He faced Durham for the Birmingham Bears and was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-25 in his four overs.

He wasn’t required to bat after helping dismiss the visitors for 154 and will return to international duty well-oiled and ready to add to the five wickets he collected in the second Test.

The other squad members released were Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Jake Ball.

The former duo have both scored tons during the Sri Lanka series, so won’t be too bothered by poor returns for their counties, while Ball has been left out of both Test sides thus far.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.