England coach Chris Silverwood has dismissed thoughts that the team’s batting collapse on Day 3 of the Edgbaston Test had anything to do with the off-field social media controversy. According to Silverwood, it was a clear case of New Zealand displaying better skills and commitment in the Test.
England have had a tough time off the field over the last few days, ever since Ollie Robinson’s historical ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ tweets came to the fore during his Test debut at Lord’s. Since then, old tweets from James Anderson, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan have also come under the scanner.
However, according to Silverwood, England have made every effort to concentrate on cricket amid the social media furore. Speaking after England capitulated to 122 for 9 on Day 3 of the second Test, the coach said:
"I don't think it has [been a disruption]. We've tried very hard to make sure that the noise on the outside has been quietened down to try and concentrate on cricket. Obviously, it's not easy, but that's what we've had to try and do because we had a Test match to try and compete in. There were plenty of lessons out there to learn from. It's a case of watching and learning what we can from how the New Zealand players go about their business, the methods they use and the way they apply themselves."
After England’s bowlers restricted New Zealand to 388 in their first innings, they would have been confident of making a further impact with the bat. However, the hosts crumbled to 76 for 7 and only a lower-order resistance prevented them from being bowled out on Day 3.
England were obviously not good enough: Chris Silverwood
Silverwood conceded that England were way off the mark and that the youngsters should be disappointed at missing out on an opportunity to score some runs. He said:
"It's obviously not good enough. We need to improve, there's no doubt about that. There are things to work on without a shadow of a doubt. No-one is going to hide from that or deny it. I'm not going to lie: I thought it was a great opportunity for some of the younger lads to come in and stamp their mark on the game. I'm sure one or two will be disappointed they haven't been able to do that. "When do we stop talking and start delivering? I think we need to start seeing starts turned into big scores now.”
Silverwood, however, pointed out that the absence of big names like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler hurt England, stating that captain Joe Root is the only batsman with plenty of experience. He added:
"Let's have a little bit of perspective. We have got a very young batting line-up with limited experience. Joe Root is the one guy you would say has a heap of experience in that top seven. Getting the experience of Buttler and Stokes back will help the young players, as well. We've seen in the past that, if you put the inexperienced players in between the experienced ones, it helps them learn. That's what I'm hoping will happen in the India series.”
New Zealand have not won a Test series in England since 1999. That drought looks set to end as England ended Day 3 with a slender lead of 37 and only one wicket in hand.
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