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'Cock up': Root takes blame, English media reacts to 'harrowing humiliation' against India

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16th August, 2021
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England captain Joe Root made a stunning admission that his leadership was found wanting under pressure after India grabbed a 151-run second Test win, while Root’s national media turned on him with a vengeance.

Root hit an unbeaten 180 in the first innings to keep his side alive in the Lord’s Test but couldn’t stop India snatching away momentum.

England surrendered a potentially match-winning position on the fifth morning, allowing tailenders Mohammed Shami (56 not out) and Jasprit Bumrah (34 not out) to hit career-best scores in a game-changing, unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 89.

England captain Joe Root.

Joe Root (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

When India skipper Virat Kohli declared at 8-298 to set England 272 off 60 overs for victory, the pressure was on the home side. Root made 33 in his second dig before being caught behind off the third ball after tea.

In the end England were bowled out for 120 with 8.1 overs left in the day as India took a 1-0 series lead.

Root was guilty of baffling field placings and failing to instil enough discipline in the bowling attack during the India fightback.

“I think a lot falls on my shoulders as captain,” said Root. “Tactically I could have done things slightly differently given the time again.

“As captain, you take responsibility. It’s very raw right now.

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“I don’t think I coped with that partnership well enough. We went from being in a very strong position, where we looked like we were going to go on and win this game, to being behind and making it very difficult for ourselves.

“I’ll do a lot of learning from here to make sure that, if we find ourselves in a similar position, tactically I’m better.”

After letting victory slip through their fingers, England still had a chance to draw the Test by seeing off 60 overs in familiar conditions.

But with three ducks in their second innings – including both England openers for the first time in a home Test and Sam Curran for a king pair in the match – it proved beyond them.

The total number of ducks by English Test batsmen in 2021 is now 39 – the second-worst total ever for the Three Lions.

“I absolutely expected us to (survive) and it is disappointing that we didn’t manage to,” Root said.

“I don’t think there’s any hiding from it, we do need to get better.

“There’s still a lot of cricket to be played in this series.

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“We just need to stay calm and not try to panic and make sure we’re in a really good frame of mind when we turn up to Leeds.”

The English media was anything but calm in response.

“This Test match has proved two things,” wrote former England batsman Sir Geoffrey Boycott in the UK Telegraph.

“Firstly, if you are stupid you do not deserve to win Test matches. As much as we love Joe Root for his magnificent batting, he cocked up with his tactics.

“Secondly, England cannot keep relying on Joe for all their runs. There has to be an improvement from the top three very soon because it is getting beyond a joke.”

Former England player David Lloyd, writing in the Daily Mail, said: “This Test went rapidly away from England the moment Jasprit Bumrah came into bat.

“They just seemed intent on knocking lumps off him rather than getting him out.

“There’s always something great about a tail-end partnership. Bumrah and Mohammed Shami just had a lot of fun at England’s expense. It looked as if England had totally lost the plot…”

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In The Guardian, Jonathan Liew wrote: “There was nothing casual in Kohli’s choice of words late on the fourth evening to James Anderson, that this wasn’t his “f***ing backyard”. India didn’t just win at Lord’s; they annexed it.

“Here there would be precious few hiding places for Joe Root’s side, no respite from a humiliation that in its harrowing, chastening quality will be one of their most unpleasant in recent memory.

“In a way it was a kind of emasculation: not on the balance of play over the course of the match, but in how thoroughly superior India were when it mattered and how instinctively they knew it, how meekly England imploded in a haze of misplaced hubris and sublimated inadequacy.

“England were not only outclassed but outthought, not only humbled but harassed, not only beaten but bullied.”

(With PA)

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