Root: ‘We are not scared of a challenge’


“With these five-match series, it’s really important that we don’t feel too sorry for ourselves off the back of this defeat.”

Joe Root has insisted that England can recover from their nine-wicket thrashing at the Gabba and that his team are “not scared of a challenge” but admitted that their catching and first-innings batting effort were not up to scratch.

England were bowled out for 147 inside two sessions after Root opted to bat first under cloudy skies and in the field, they dropped five catches and missed at least two run-out chances as Australia racked up a 278-run first-innings lead. Root said that his side had responded well to defeats in the past, but admitted that they had fallen short in their performance levels.

“We’re a team that’s always responded well to situations like this in the recent past,” he said, speaking to BT Sport. “We’re not scared of a challenge. We’re not scared of fronting up to a difficult result and we’ll just have to make sure that we do exactly that again on this occasion.

“The toss, I think it was the right decision, but when you’re 40 [29] for 4, it’s very difficult to get yourself back in the game from that position. We have to be better in that first innings and manage those conditions in that situation better moving forward and ultimately as well, we created so many chances with the ball. I thought we were excellent with the ball in hand.

“I thought our seamers were brilliant, Woody [Mark Wood] in particular, Robbo [Ollie Robinson] as well and [they were] backed up by the other guys. We created a lot of chances but we’ve just got to take them. We want to be better in the field. If we did that the game could have looked very different: we could have been looking at – even with the way that we played this morning – we could have been 150 ahead and it’s a very different context of the game then.

“Our bowlers were excellent,” he added in the post-match presentation. “They beat the bat a huge amount of times. They banged out the areas that you want to on this kind of wicket and we’ve just got to be better in the field. We know where we need to get better but I do think the way that we responded in that second innings showed a great amount of character and fight which we will need throughout the rest of this series.”

Root also defended the omission of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and took responsibility for Jack Leach’s chastening figures of 1 for 102 in 13 overs while insisting that Leach could play “a big part” in the rest of the series.

“If anything, that probably falls on me for probably giving him too aggressive fields, too early – not letting him settle in and giving him a bit more of a chance early on. Jack’s a fine spinner. He’s shown over the 20-odd Test matches that he’s played what an instrumental part he can play within this team and I’m sure he’ll play a big part in this series moving forward.

“It’s easy to look back in hindsight. One thing I will say is that we wanted variation in our attack. We wanted to be able to change the pace of the game and move through different gears throughout the innings. It’s easy to say in hindsight [that Anderson or Broad should have played].

“With these five-match series, it’s really important that we don’t feel too sorry for ourselves off the back of this. More than anything, we’ve got to remember that there’s a huge amount of cricket to play and we should relish that challenge, relish that opportunity to go out there and get one back on the board for ourselves.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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