JOE Root is expecting big things from Yorkshire’s Championship side this summer as the England Test captain bids farewell following scores of 101 and 99 in five early season appearances.

The unbeaten White Rose are handily placed in the County Championship thanks to three wins and three draws in six games.

They sit top of Group Three by five points from Lancashire, who have a game in hand. The top two sides advance to the top group in the second phase of the competition in August and September.

Root scored 101 in the victory over Kent at Canterbury last month and a fabulous 99 in the rainy draw against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens last week.

He now turns his attention to international commitments as England face New Zealand in two Tests, starting on June 2.

Root scored 291 runs in five four-day games, averaging 36.37, and he said: “You always look forward to whatever the next cricket is coming around. For me, that will be those Test matches.

“It’s been great to play some county cricket ahead of what is a very exciting year in Test cricket.

“I’ll definitely benefit from having these games in the bank.”

Yorkshire were tipped by many as genuine title contenders in pre-season, and Root admitted: “There’s certainly enough in the squad (to achieve that).

“I still don’t think we’ve been at our best yet. In many ways, that’s exciting. We’ve found ways of winning games we had no right to. That’s a really good quality.

“Look at Essex. That’s something they’ve managed to do over the last couple of years and why they’ve been so successful. They’ve found themselves in difficult positions and found their way out of it.

“That’s something we’ve done well this year up until now.

“If we start playing our best cricket, start making some bigger scores in the first innings, then we’ll be a really hard side to beat.

“The bowlers have been excellent. I have every faith we will take 20 wickets on plenty of occasions.

“It’s just can we make those first-innings runs?

“You look at the guys, there’s plenty of talent and ability in that dressing room and plenty of hundreds. It’s just a matter of time before it clicks in.”

Yorkshire have a week free from action and next play when they travel to Emirates Old Trafford a week on Thursday to face Lancashire in a blockbuster fixture.

That fixture will be Yorkshire’s first in front of a crowd at first-team level. It will also be televised live by Sky Sports.

England, meanwhile, have named a 15-man squad for their Tests against world number two ranked New Zealand.

A number of senior players who have only just returned from the Indian Premier League, including Bradford-born Jonny Bairstow, have been left out.

Uncapped duo Ollie Robinson, the former Yorkshire seamer, and James Bracey have been selected.

Jack Leach has been favoured as the sole spinner in the squad to Yorkshire’s Dom Bess.