Root relieved to make amends for Gayle drop

Chris Woakes gets a high five from Joe Root Getty Images

Joe Root feared the worst when he spilled Chris Gayle at slip in the opening over of the first ODI at Old Trafford, so was grateful for the chance to redeem himself in spectacular style to prevent the West Indies opener from doing too much damage.

In the end, England won the opening match of the series at a canter but the early exchanges went West Indies' way with Gayle launching three sixes after his early let-off, which Root admitted left him with a sinking feeling and determined not to let the second opportunity evade him when Gayle skied Chris Woakes over cover.

"I saw it the whole way, thought it was a pretty straightforward catch - maybe it got a bit big on me," he said of the slip catch. "I thought it could be quite costly, and when the second one went up I thought 'I have to get there'. There was a huge amount relief when I managed to cling on to it."

England's indifferent slip catching was a feature of the Test series against West Indies and led to coach Trevor Bayliss calling it "terrible", warning it could cost them the Ashes. Root is usually a very safe catcher in the cordon and said that when one goes down it can be difficult not to watch the reprieved player's score notch up.

"You almost feel guilty with each run they score," he said. "It's just nice to be the one who made amends for it. I think he banged a six shortly after that, so that hurt a lot but it's part of the game. You have to try and stay composed, not let it affect anyone else, make sure your body language is good."

It has been a demanding season for Root, his first as Test captain in which both series went to deciding Tests, and the Ashes series is drawing ever nearer with all its associated pressures. But he insists there is no fatigue and has his sights set on finishing England's longest summer in the remainder of the ODIs, the last of which is on September 29, with the team due to depart for Australia a month later.

While Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, two other all-format players, were rested from the T20I against West Indies, Root took his place in the line-up then began the one-day series with 54 off 53 balls in England's serene chase. The only internationals he has missed this season were in the T20 series against South Africa after the Champions Trophy, but he featured in the pink-ball round of County Championship matches during the time away from England duty.

"We had a chat before the series and said do I feel I like I can play," Root said. "Every time I feel fit and that I can deliver at my best I'll go out and play for England. I love the opportunity we get every time we put on the shirt, it's such a proud feeling and I've never lost that from the start. I'm desperate to take every opportunity to play for England. If I'm not able to give my absolute best I'm probably doing the team a disservice, but at the moment I'm fit and ready go."

If England are able to close out the one-day series with matches to spare - and there was a significant gulf between the teams at Old Trafford once West Indies' opening stand was broken - it could create the opportunity to withdraw a few players early. Not being captain in this format means those decisions around other players do not involve Root, but he believes each knows what is best for them.

"In terms of this series those are individual conversations. As players, you know yourself better than anyone else and in the best interests of this and the Test team you need to be really honest," he said. "Only you really know if you are struggling or tired. Everyone wants to play as much as they can. You are only around for so long, at the peak of your game and fitness, and you want to take every opportunity. Those guys have got a lot of cricket ahead of them this winter, but we have a period off before we go to recuperate and relax."