Thursday, 2 December 2021

Root promises no ’emotional decisions’ after first Test loss

BIRMINGHAM: Joe Root insisted England would avoid pressing the panic button after going 1-0 down in the Ashes with a crushing 251-run defeat in the first Test at Edgbaston.

England needed to bat out the whole of Monday’s final day to salvage a draw ahead of next week’s second Test at Lord’s.

But England were dismissed for just 146 inside 53 overs, with Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon taking six wickets, as they lost at their Birmingham ‘fortress’ for the first time in 12 matches in all formats.

Lyon’s efforts on a wearing pitch were in marked contrast to those of England off-spinner Moeen Ali, whose lack of control, never mind wickets, was exemplified by a couple of ‘beamers’ he bowled during Australia’s mammoth second innings 487-7 declared.

Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been tipped to replace Moeen at Lord’s, having bailed England out with a career-best 92 in their Test win over Ireland at the ‘home of cricket’ last month.

“With Mo, you’ve got to remember how threatening he can be and what an asset he has been to this team in the past,” said Root.

“Whenever he’s been written off before he generally comes back stronger, especially in English conditions.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re very clear about we approach the next game and not make too many emotional decisions,” he added.

Root said England could take heart from the way they won the World Cup earlier this season, when they had to overcome pool-stage defeats, including a shock loss to Sri Lanka, before beating New Zealand in a thrilling final.

“Seeing emotionally how things changed throughout the World Cup is probably a good example to the group,” Root said.

“Look at where things seemed to be after that Sri Lanka game, and where we finished up.”

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