Joe Root has slipped out of the elite category.
Joe Root has slipped out of the elite category.

Fab four? Root says hello, goodbye to elite status

A COMPELLING, thrilling and at times brutal day of Test cricket revealed itself at Lord's on day four of the second Ashes contest in this series.

And with a day to play we still can't be sure whether Australia will travel to Leeds 2-0 or 1-0 up, or even with the series squared.

Five things we do know, however, follow here:

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JOE ROOT IS NO FOURTH BEATLE

The England captain is supposed to be part of the "fab four" of the world's batsmen, with Steve Smith, Indian captain Virat Kohli and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.

But Root's golden duck in the second innings, along with his 13 in the first, and just 28 in the second innings at Edgbaston when his team needed him, are not the returns of a man who can sit comfortably in that elite company.

Root only averages 32.82 in Test cricket since the end of the 2017/18 Ashes series, which doesn't put him in the same conversation as his more consistent contemporaries.

PAT CUMMINS IS CAPTAINCY MATERIAL

As all the drama with Steve Smith was going on it was Pat Cummins who continued to hold firm and bat his team in to some sort of position. Cummins, one of two vice-captains, stayed around for 80 balls, all while Jofra Archer was at his most fierce.

Cummins only made 20 runs but when he was finally out, Australia was only eight runs behind England. Then he came out and put his new ball woes behind him to stir England right up with two wickets in two balls. Cummins brought a dramatic day even more alive.

Pat Cummins contributed with both bat and ball on day four at Lord’s.
Pat Cummins contributed with both bat and ball on day four at Lord’s.

TEST CRICKET IS STILL THE BEST

The recent World Cup final was arguably the most memorable one-day game of the last 10 years. There could have been a few epic T20 innings in that time too.

But day four at Lord's was a reminder why the longest form of the game is still the one all the best payers aspire to conquer.

Having sat in the change rooms for the best part of two days, both teams did their level best to ensure the match didn't whimper towards a draw on Sunday. Fiery bowling, attacking batting, hit batsmen, a near hat-trick, dropped catches - no-one at Lord's on August 17, 2019, will ever forget what they saw.

IS DAVID WARNER THE RIGHT CHOICE AT FIRST SLIP?

Runs have been hard to come by for the Aussie opener and so have catches as he tries to settle in to his new position at first slip.

For most of his career Warner was an out-fielder, usually as mid-on as the chief manager of the ball. That has changed since his comeback from a 12-month ban and since the Test squad assembled at Southampton last month he's been next to the keeper.

But Warner dropped two catches on day four, one off Peter Siddle, another off Nathan Lyon, and a third, tougher one off the spinner.

A pocket of fans at Lord’s continued to boo Steve Smith even after he was injured.
A pocket of fans at Lord’s continued to boo Steve Smith even after he was injured.

SOME FANS JUST DON'T GET IT

It's hard to believe that even at Lord's Steve Smith could have been booed not once, but three times, including when he left the field, with a doctor, after being hit in the neck.

It was only small pockets, but loud enough to make an impact.

They booed him went he first went out to bat, in more of a keeping-up-appearances sort of way.

But after an afternoon at a ground where you are allowed to take in your own bottle of wine, they booed Smith again when he returned to the field after retiring hurt.

It's just wrong. You are never going to stop them, you just hope they go home and feel a little bit ashamed.