Keep the faith says Root af­ter Eng­land sur­ren­der

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - CRICKET - DAVID CLOUGH AT LORD’S ■ Email: ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

JOE ROOT ad­mits his Eng­land team is con­tin­u­ing to un­der-per­form but has urged sup­port­ers to “keep the faith” none­the­less.

Un­der Root’s cap­taincy, Eng­land took their alarm­ing los­ing se­quence to six de­feats in eight Tests as they suc­cumbed limply by nine wick­ets to Pakistan in the first match of the home summer.

The York­shire­man was not hid­ing away from ev­i­dent prob­lems af­ter Eng­land were dis­patched early on day four at Lord’s – where they were bowled out for 184 af­ter he chose to bat and then could set Pakistan only 64 to win af­ter mus­ter­ing 242 at their sec­ond at­tempt.

It was the con­tin­u­a­tion of a mis­er­able theme, thor­oughly es­tab­lished through last win­ter’s 4-0 Ashes trounc­ing and 1-0 set­back in New Zealand – and all the more con­cern­ing that it has fol­lowed them home.

“We know we’re un­der-per­form­ing ... we’ve not per­formed to any­where we need to,” said Root, whose hosts must win at Head­in­g­ley in the sec­ond NatWest Test to avoid se­ries de­feat.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to take as a tal­ented group of play­ers ... (but) we fully be­lieve we can get to where we want to get to.”

Asked for his mes­sage to those who fol­low Eng­land in the hope of im­prove­ment, Root added: “Keep the faith, keep trust­ing, keep be­liev­ing. “We’ve got to ... just find a way.” He in­sists, de­spite ob­vi­ous fail­ings in the mid­dle, Eng­land are doing ev­ery­thing right in prac­tice.

“We worked a lot harder – the in­ten­sity in prac­tice was def­i­nitely better,” he said. “That’s going to make us a better team, but it doesn’t hap­pen overnight.

“We put in some re­ally hard work, and we’ve got to con­tinue to do that and keep be­liev­ing that will get us to where we want to get to.

“We have looked at things, and had a re­ally good chat about how we wanted to ap­proach this summer – and I think we went about things the right way. We’ve got to give it time to work.”

It is be­com­ing a grim pa­tience test, how­ever.

“Putting that prac­tice into the game was what was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing this week – be­cause it didn’t hap­pen,” said Root.

“We’ve been out­played across all three de­part­ments – and in par­tic­u­lar, it was dis­ap­point­ing with the bat first up. It re­ally hurt us not get­ting the score we needed.

“We were well be­low par and al­ways chas­ing the game re­ally, try­ing to find a way back in.”

He and coach Trevor Bayliss do not ap­pear tempted to change the team sig­nif­i­cantly for the sec­ond Test at Head­in­g­ley on Fri­day – al­though in an in­ter­view with Sky Sports, the lat­ter’s frus­tra­tion was clear.

Root said: “It’s easy to look at [this re­sult] and say ‘Right, we need to make dras­tic changes’.

“But it’s not just one or two guys – we were col­lec­tively all un­der par this week. We have to take that on the chin, learn the lessons very quickly and make sure we re­spond well.

“It would be very easy to go into next week feel­ing sorry for our­selves and think there’s no way for­ward for us – but ab­so­lutely there is.”

Bayliss added: “(This) was nowhere near good enough for Test level ... to be bowled out for 180 and 240 is sim­ply not good enough. They are work­ing hard on it, but we keep mak­ing the same mis­takes. The bat­ters have to have a good, hard, long look at them­selves.”

Jos But­tler (67) and Dom Bess (57) could add only a com­bined three runs to the spirit demon­strated in their stand of 126 on Satur­day – and on the re­sump­tion, fan­ci­ful hopes of an im­prob- able vic­tory faded fast as Eng­land lost their last four wick­ets for seven in 25 balls to be bowled out for 242.

As Mo­ham­mad Amir (4-36) and Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas (4-41) shared the spoils, and Pakistan were set only 64 for vic­tory.

But for the oa­sis of But­tler and debu­tant No 8 Bess’s sev­en­th­wicket part­ner­ship – which more than dou­bled the to­tal af­ter they joined forces on a sorry sec­ondin­nings 110-6, with 69 runs needed to avoid an in­nings de­feat – Eng­land were out­played in all de­part­ments here.

From the mo­ment Root chose to bat first in awk­ward con­di­tions, his team was un­able to rise to the chal­lenge with bat, ball or in the field.

The fi­nal act con­tained an early wicket, James An­der­son see­ing off Azhar Ali, but oth­er­wise Pakistan com­pleted their straight­for­ward task with­out alarm and well in time for lunch.

Eng­land re­sumed with ap­par­ent rea­son for a mi­nor spring in their step thanks to But­tler and Bess.

But the for­mer was gone in only the sec­ond over – be­fore Pa- kistan could even get their hands on the sec­ond new ball.

But­tler fell lbw on the front foot, shap­ing to push-drive Ab­bas, and Mark Wood then mus­tered one bound­ary past cover off the same bowler be­fore he was caught be­hind off Amir at the other end.

Ab­bas had his fourth wicket when Stuart Broad also edged to Sar­fraz Ahmed for a duck – and a pair – and then Bess was last out, clean-bowled try­ing to at­tack Amir.

Pakistan had done all the hard work and pro­duced a clin­i­cal performance al­most through­out the four days.

The tourists were mi­nus a frontline bats­man, Babar Azam out with a bro­ken arm af­ter be­ing hit by a nasty short ball from Ben Stokes in the first in­nings.

If there were any jit­ters, though, af­ter An­der­son’s early strike, they did not last long.

Imam ul-Haq and Haris So­hail did the nec­es­sary in an un­bro­ken half-cen­tuy stand – and the mirage of Eng­land resistance which flick­ered for a ses­sion on Satur­day evening had dis­ap­peared in the blink of an eye.


THAT FA­MIL­IAR FEEL­ING: Eng­land’s cap­tain Joe Root walks off at the end with his team-mates af­ter a one-sided Test match at Lord’s, as Pakistan cruised to vic­tory in­side four days, ahead of Fri­day’s sec­ond Test at Head­in­g­ley.

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