England vice-captain Joe Root: We just weren’t good enough today

Published: Saturday 24th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Joe Root accepts England must simply bat much better if they are to have any chance in the remainder of the second Test against Pakistan.

England folded from 206 for three, following Root’s dismissal at that point for 88, to be bowled out for 242 by lunch on day three.

They were then powerless, on a perfectly feasible pitch and despite two early wickets, to stop the hosts powering to 222 for three as Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq surged towards his second century in the match.

Misbah (87 not out) was one of three Pakistanis to pass 50, sharing an unbroken stand of 139 with Younus Khan (71no), in a stumps total which put England 358 behind already.

It was the tourists’ inability to cope against the pace-and-spin combination of Wahab Riaz (four for 66) and Yasir Shah (four for 93) in the morning session, though, which wrecked what had been a favourable position.

England are therefore obviously up against it to salvage a stalemate, and keep the series at 0-0, on a surface likely to offer increasing help to Yasir and his fellow spinner Zulfiqur Babar.

Root conceded England’s only hope it to try to stay positive, but was frank too in his assessment of their moderate display with the bat.

He said: “We’ve got no choice.

“We’ve got to pitch up (on Sunday) and put in a better performance than (Saturday) – because we just weren’t good enough.

“(On Saturday) morning we got it wrong, plain and simple.

“We knew what we had to do – I can speak for myself and collective – (and) we weren’t able to match Pakistan.”

Root gave the opposition due credit, but did not shirk the issue that England made plenty of their own problems after resuming on 182 for three.

“Fair play to Pakistan – they put us under a lot of pressure; they bowled very consistently and got the ball to ‘reverse’ at speed, and we weren’t able to handle that.

“The leg-spinner bowled with some good control, but if we are being brutally honest there were a few shots in our dismissals which we would probably want to rethink.”

Root cited minor mitigation in conditions which put a premium on sound defence and sensible attacking options to help batsmen get set.

“It’s not a very easy place to start your innings – and when you are put under pressure, as we were, you can get found out if you aren’t right on the ball from the start.

“It’s something we’ve got to learn from and learn fast, going into the second innings.

“We just weren’t good enough today, simple as that.

“We know we are a very good side, have a lot of talent in the dressing room, and it’s just about making sure we don’t make the same mistakes again in the second innings.”

His was always likely to be a very important wicket – and after adding only 12 to his overnight score, the vice-captain did not absolve himself from blame.

“With 80-odd, set fair from last night, I felt as if I should be the one to go on and make a big score, make big partnership with Jonny (Bairstow) – and we’d be need near their score.

“So that was very disappointing.”

Among others found wanting was out-of-form wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who edged Wahab behind for a duck.

Root said: “He’ll be disappointed after today.

“But he’s a fine player, and I expect him to bounce back because that’s what great players do.

“Jos has had a couple of low scores.

“But I’ve got every confidence in him turning it around, and I can see him doing great things for England in the future.”

Wahab agreed Root’s wicket was key.

“Obviously, Root is a very good player and a very aggressive player,” he said.

“So we know he’s a very important person to get out. We thought if we did that, we could dry up the runs and put pressure on the new batsmen – which happened.”

Published: Saturday 24th October 2015 by The News Editor

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