Joe Root’s unbeaten 115 helped England ease to a five-wicket win over New Zealand at Lord’s (Picture: Getty)
The Australian cricket legend died of a suspected heart attack in March and his tragic passing transcended the cricketing world.
Warne was close to several members of the current England team and backroom staff, including Root and his successor as Test captain Ben Stokes.
Ahead of England’s match against New Zealand, the commentary box at Lord’s was named in Warne’s honour, while the crowd rose as one in the 23rd over on the first morning of the game to salute one of the sport’s great entertainers and prolific wicket takers.
Ben Stokes hailed Joe Root after his man of the match performance for England against New Zealand (Picture: Getty)
Root, meanwhile, enjoyed a stellar return to the rank and file, with his unbeaten 115 helping England to begin a new era under the captaincy of Stokes, as well as new head coach Brendan McCullum, with a five-wicket victory.
Although England, ultimately, cantered a win that looked unlikely at one stage Root felt an ultra-competitive, low-scoring match was played in a spirit that Warne would have appreciated.
He said: ‘It’s a nice feeling. It was hell of a game and for this game to be in Warney’s memory with such aggressive cricket is fitting in many ways.’
Asked how it felt to help Stokes toast his maiden Test as skipper in the best possible way, Root added: ‘The number of times Ben has won us Tests under my leadership, it’s a great chance for me to give back to him.
‘I love batting. I want to score as many runs as I can and win us as many Test matches as I can. As long as I’ve got the energy and the drive to do it, I’ll do it. I couldn’t wish for a better person to be leading this team.’
Stokes responded by hailing his long-time teammate, who joined an elite club by becoming only the 14th man in history to reach 10,000 Test runs, as one of the best in the world.
‘Playing for England winning matters to him,’ said Stokes .’Walking off 115 not out, he has won us the game and after stepping down as captain. It was special. It is great to see him back. He does not have to worry about it – just worry about scoring runs.
‘Joe is one of the best in the world. One of the best Test match batsmen England will have for a long time. No one is surprised and you could see how emotional he was walking off.’
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