Joe Root is just thirty and next week he will play his hundredth Test. He is the fourth of Yorkshire’s indisputably great batsmen; the previous three being Herbert Sutcliffe (54 Tests), Len Hutton (79 Tests) and Geoffrey Boycott (108 Tests).

Sutcliffe’s career was delayed by the First World War – he was twenty when it broke out; Hutton’s was interrupted by World War Two – he was twenty-three in 1939; Boycott was twenty-four when first capped, forty-one when he played his last Test. Root, barring injury, will play 17 Tests this calendar year. The earlier three all made many more centuries for Yorkshire than for England. Root scarcely ever plays a first-class match for the county. He has now scored more Test runs than any of the other three and, for Test hundreds, has surpassed Sutcliffe’s 16, levelled with Hutton’s 19 and is set to continue past Boycott’s 22 this year.

The game and the cricket calendar have changed so much that comparisons between the four are worth little. It is not only that the balance between Test and county cricket is so different, but the game on the field has also changed too, even if it may be argued that there is little in cricket today which wasn’t in it a hundred years ago. Certainly, some shots are played now that Sutcliffe, Hutton and Boycott could scarcely have imagined. I don’t suppose that any of them ever thought of the reverse sweep which Root played with such success in the two Tests against Sri Lanka this month. Conversely covering of pitches means that Root has never batted on a sticky wicket.