Cricket

Root Tells England Fans To ‘Keep The Faith’

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England captain Joe Root urged supporters to “keep the faith” with his team following a heavy defeat in the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.

A nine-wicket loss came after a winter when they did not win in seven Tests in Australia and New Zealand.

“Keep believing,” said Root. “We know we are underperforming and that is very difficult to take.

“We have a very talented group of players and we fully believe we can get to where we want to be.”

England were outplayed in all departments at Lord’s, starting with being bowled out for 184 on the first day.

Had it not been for a century stand between Jos Buttler and Dom Bess on Saturday afternoon, England would lost by an innings inside three days.

They collapsed from 236-6 to 242 all out on Sunday before Pakistan reached their victory target of 64 half an hour before lunch.

The second Test begins on Friday at Headingley, where Pakistan will have the opportunity to seal their first series win in England since 1996.

“It would be very easy going into next week feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking that there is no way forward, but there absolutely is,” said 27-year-old Root.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a good result and move forward for the rest of the summer.”

‘We got it wrong, we know that’

England usually thrive in early-season conditions, especially against teams from the subcontinent. Before this match, they had lost only three home Tests that began in May.

At Lord’s, though, they were outperformed by a Pakistan team that looked to have reaped the benefits of more thorough preparation.

The tourists’ batting was more patient, their bowling more incisive and their fielding superior – England dropped five catches in the Pakistan first innings.

“We got it wrong, we know that,” said Root, who was appointed England captain last year. “We need to be better in these conditions.

“We’ve got to turn things around, we’ve got to be clever about how we do things. We’ve got to be smarter in certain situations.”

Joe Root for England
As captain Not as captain
Tests: 15 Tests: 53
Runs: 1,321 Runs: 4,594
Average: 50.8 Average: 52.8
Centuries: 2 Centuries: 11
Wins: 5 Wins: 20
Defeats: 8 Defeats: 20
Win %: 33% Win %: 38%

England’s eight-match run without a win is part of a wider, steady decline in their Test performances.

Since coach Trevor Bayliss took charge in 2015, England have lost 20 and won 15 of their 41 Tests.

“The messages haven’t changed,” Bayliss told BBC Test Match Special. “We’ve been working on the same things but the guys unfortunately keep making the same mistakes.

“We’ve seen all of these guys score runs in difficult situations before so they can do it. They’ve just got to do it more often.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said that “finger has to be pointed” at the coaching team.

“Bayliss is a good guy but his record in Tests is not what you’d expect,” Vaughan told TMS.

“It looks to me like the team aren’t listening. There are problems. It’s not a surprise that they have performed like this; they have performed like this on a regular basis.

“It’s now down to the group getting together and understanding that what they have delivered for a long period of time is not the right way to approach Test cricket.”

Courtesy: bbci.co.uk

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