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New Zealand vs England 2019: Captain Joe Root rues missed opportunities but backs team for stronger show in Hamilton

Aakash Arya
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:09 IST

Joe Root (left) and Chris Silverwood (right)
Joe Root (left) and Chris Silverwood (right)

After losing the first Test to New Zealand by an innings and 65 runs, England captain Joe Root has backed his team to return stronger in the Hamilton Test starting November 29. On the final day of the Test, England needed to bat out all the three sessions with seven wickets in hand but failed to do so as they were bowled out inside 97 overs in the last session of the fifth day.

Root stated that the visitors needed to be mentally strong and ready for any challenge coming their way and panicking when put under pressure wasn't the way to go for the ODI World Cup winners. He felt that poor shot-selection cost the team important sessions in the match which should have ‘ideally’ gone their way. 

"We have to be honest with ourselves, not panic, not think that it's the end of the world, and make sure that we continue to work really hard. It's a mentality thing more than a technical thing - it's a mindset thing. So trying to harness that early and trying to learn from mistakes like this game and move on very quickly from it... if we can do that, then we'll see rapid improvement.”

Root pointed towards his team’s collapse from a strong position of 277 for four wickets at one stage to 353 all-out in the first innings. He blamed the batters’ poor choices of shot-making as their main cause for the loss but took nothing away from the impressive Kiwi quicks and Mitchell Santner in particular. Ben Stokes, Joe Denly and Rory Burns threw away their wickets after posting their respective half-centuries and compared a similar situation of the match where the hosts were rescued by a gritty partnership of 261 runs between BJ Watling and Santner. Root explained: 

"We missed an opportunity, if we're being brutally honest… You look at the two innings in comparison: two of their guys went on and made really big contributions. We had a couple of guys play really well but could have done with making those big scores - making a score over 450, really.”
BJ Watling (left) and Mitchell Santner (right) shared a 261-run stand for the seventh wicket
BJ Watling (left) and Mitchell Santner (right) shared a 261-run stand for the seventh wicket
"That was a big opportunity for us that we missed. There were probably a lot of similarities where we had them four or five down for the score where we finished on day one... the difference being they had a guy with a double-hundred and someone support him with a hundred.”
"We had three guys play very well. [I'm] not trying to take anything away from our boys - we played extremely well, we just have to do it for longer, do more of it, and make those nineties, seventies and fifties into two hundreds and hundreds."

Root also talked about Jofra Archer’s average outing with the ball, taking only one wicket in his 42 overs. He put his weight behind the fast bowler and asked for patience, reminding that he was still relatively new to the international arena and will only improve with time and experience. He said:

"He's got all the attributes that can be very successful here and he's got to learn that sometimes you've got to make sure every spell counts… You really have got to run in and use that extra pace to your advantage. In many ways I can't fault his effort, bowling the amount he has done throughout this innings shows that he cares and he wants to put in for this team.” 
Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer
"But I think there are certain spells where he can just unleash a little bit more. That will come with experience and time. I don't think sometimes he realises how good he is and what he can do, especially when the wicket does look flat. Hopefully, he'll be able to learn from an experience like this one. In many ways, I can see it really motivating him and making him a better player."

Published 25 Nov 2019, 16:03 IST
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