How Joe Root compares with England greats as he becomes all-time top run-scorer

Joe Root, left, has passed Sir Alastair Cook’s run total in all internationals (Adam Davy/PA)
17:34pm, Wed 04 Aug 2021
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Joe Root’s half-century in the first Test against India took him past Sir Alastair Cook as England’s record run-scorer in all formats of international cricket.

The England captain went into the opening day 21 behind his predecessor Cook, who remains England’s record Test run-scorer by a considerable distance.

Despite England’s woes, a boundary off Mohammed Siraj in the 33rd over took Root to 23 on the day and a new career record and here, the PA news agency looks at how Root, Cook and the other leading contenders compare.

Root vs Cook

Cook’s England-record 12,472 Test runs helped him amass 15,737 across all formats, with Root moving beyond him to 15,780 before he fell for 64 as part of England’s collapse from 138 for three to 183 all out.

He remains well behind in five-day cricket on 8,778 – third among England batsmen behind Graham Gooch’s 8,900 – but his superior white-ball record relative to Cook has made up the difference.

Root has 6,109 one-day international runs to his name and another 893 in Twenty20s, compared to 3,204 in ODIs for Cook – who played only four T20 internationals and scored 61 runs.

Root’s runs have come in 290 games – this is his 106th Test, with 152 ODIs and 32 T20s, the one format where he has currently slipped out of contention. He has 36 hundreds and 90 fifties, including 20 tons and now 50 half-centuries in Tests.

Cook, by comparison, played 161 Tests, 92 ODIs and 257 total matches. He made 38 hundreds, 33 of them in Tests, and 76 fifties including 57 in Tests.

Best of the rest

Joe Root has moved past Sir Alastair Cook’s run tally in all internationals (PA graphic)

Kevin Pietersen is the third name on the list with 13,797 runs in total and reached four figures in all three formats, an accolade he shares with only Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow for England.

Pietersen made 8,181 Test runs, 4,440 in ODIs and 1,176 in T20, with 32 centuries in total, and showcased a dominant all-format game like few England batsmen before him.

His more understated contemporary Ian Bell made 13,331, just 188 of which came in T20 cricket though his 5,416 in ODIs trail only Root and leader Eoin Morgan among England batsmen.

Graham Gooch, left, and Alec Stewart made their runs in the days before Twenty20 cricket (Rebecca Naden/PA) (PA Archive)

Gooch and Alec Stewart rank second and fourth for Test runs, either side of Root in that table, but the fact they played before the introduction of T20 restricts them to fifth and sixth spot across all formats.

Gooch retired with 13,190 runs in 243 internationals, with Stewart just 50 behind – but nearly 2,000 clear of the next names on the list, David Gower and Andrew Strauss.

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