‘No excuses’, says Joe Root after England’s Eden Park humiliation
England were stunningly bowled out for 58 in the first innings at Eden Park and, though rain on days two and three aided their cause, they failed to survive the final day and claim a draw as New Zealand secured victory by an innings and 49 runscricket Updated: Mar 26, 2018 16:56 IST
Joe Root refused to make excuses about a possible lack of ideal preparation for England’s series with New Zealand after a crushing first-Test defeat.
England were stunningly bowled out for 58 in the first innings at Eden Park and, though rain on days two and three aided their cause, they failed to survive the final day and claim a draw as the Black Caps secured victory by an innings and 49 runs.
Having resumed on 132-3, England were dismissed for 320 despite a battling effort with the bat, Ben Stokes (66) and Chris Woakes (52) each scoring half-centuries but proving unable to preserve parity in the two-match series.
The second Test in Christchurch marks the final match of a tour of Australia and New Zealand that began with the Ashes in November and has also encompassed a trans-Tasman Twenty20 tri-series and 50-over contests with both countries.
But Root was quick to dismiss talk that the hectic schedule has led to a lack of preparation time, telling Sky Sports: “I felt we had plenty of time to prepare in Australia and that didn’t go as well as we would have liked.
“There’s no point looking at excuses around the performance of this game. We simply weren’t good enough first innings with the bat and we were always fighting our way back into the game.
“Today’s effort was obviously a massive improvement from that first innings and showed a lot of determination and drive and character.”
Asked why England struggled so mightily to deal with the moving ball in the first innings, Root replied: “I think we just didn’t adapt quickly enough to the conditions, that is disappointing.
“We’re obviously used to the ball moving around, no-one gave themselves the opportunity to get in and build a partnership and that’s so vital in Test cricket. It’s something we need to get right, it’s just not good enough.”
Attention will naturally turn to changes England could make and areas in which they can improve after such a heavy defeat and Root said: “We’re always searching to improve our game, move forward as a side and make sure we’re giving ourselves opportunities to win as much as possible.
“The fundamentals of the game don’t really change wherever you are in the world but you need to make big scores of over 400, you need to be able to take 20 wickets, as a group we’re always looking to find ways of getting better and identifying ways in which we can perform more consistently in different circumstances around the world.”