Chennai: England Cricket team Joe Root on Friday became the 15th cricketer to play 100 Test matches for his country. He achieved the feat during the first Test of the four-match series against India here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
"Walking out for the first time in an England shirt would probably be the proudest moment," he told reporters. "I look back at walking out to bat and seeing Kevin Pietersen at the other end, someone I watched as a teenager and as a kid growing up, and I just couldn't stop smiling.
"I was living my childhood dream and have been ever since. Whenever I'm going through a lean spell or things aren't quite falling for me, I try to look back at that moment and remember what that feeling was like - almost try and embrace that really excitable young lad and bring that into the current situation,"
"I still am living the dream. That's probably the one thing that stands out and I will always go back to and look fondly on." he added.
Before the start of the first Test, Root had scored 8,249 runs in 99 Test matches, including 19 hundred and 49 half-centuries. He is the fourth-highest Test scorer for England, only behind Alastair Cook (12,472 runs), Graham Gooch (8,900 runs) and Alec Stewart (8,463 runs).
Incidentally, Root became only the third cricketer to play both his first and 100th Test match in the same visiting country. Root made his international debut at Nagpur in December 2012 in a series which England won 2-1 and a little over eight years later, he is back in India with a further 98 Tests to his name.
Karl Hooper and Kapil Dev are the other two cricketers to make their Test debut and 100th Test in the same visiting country. While Kapil made his debut and played his 100th Test both in Pakistan, Hooper did the same in India.
Cook holds the record for playing most number of Test matches for England. He played 166 Tests and is followed by James Anderson (158), Stuart Broad (144), Stewart (133), Ian Bell (118), Gooch (118), David Gower (117), Michael Atherton (115), Colin Cowdrey (114), Geoffrey Boycott (108), Kevin Pietersen (104), Ian Botham (102) and Root (100).
India skipper Virat Kohli earlier congratulated Root on his achievement and the England skipper as one of the big impact players in international cricket.
"Firstly, big congratulations to Joe. Playing 100 Tests is no small achievement and he can be very proud of being in this journey and continuing to do so. He has got many years of cricket still left in him. I have got good memories of watching Joe on the international scene," Kohli had said on the eve of the first Test.
(From IANS with inputs added)