Wellington: England captain Joe Root is under no illusions about his batting slump and recognises that if his side is going to win the second match in Hamilton and level the two-test series against New Zealand then he needs to make a substantial contribution.
Root’s side were hammered by an innings and 65 runs in the first test in Mount Maunganui when New Zealand, anchored by BJ Watling’s marathon 11-hour maiden test double century of 205, scored a mammoth 615-9 declared.
England were bowled out for 353 and then 197 with Root contributing scores of two and 11 at Bay Oval, his worst return in a test since he took over the captaincy in early 2017, and fifth-worst in his entire 87-match career.
“I’m not far away,” Root told British media in Hamilton on Thursday of his form. “I played two horrendous shots in the last game (but) the fact I’m getting myself out, you can deal with that.”
The worrying thing for Root and new coach Chris Silverwood, who will leave the tour on Saturday after a family bereavement, is that Root has been on a downward track since he succeeded Alastair Cook as skipper almost three years ago.
The 28-year-old has long been considered one of the premier batsmen in world cricket and often bracketed with India’s Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson as a ‘big-four’.
His double failure at Bay Oval, however, saw him drop outside the top-10 in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rankings of test batsmen for the first time in more than five years.
It also saw his batting average drop below 40 as captain to 39.70, with his career average now 47.35.
Root, who had kept his career average above 50 — and amongst the all-time greats of the game — since he first got there in mid-2014, has spiralled even further downwards in a terrible 2019.
In his 10 tests this year he has scored just 548 runs with one century and an average of 27.40.
Despite his struggles, he is still the most successful and prolific batsman in England’s lineup and felt he was still getting into right positions that should enable him to score heavily in the must-win match at Seddon Park.
“I’m moving well, hitting the ball well. I’ve just got to keep that mentality ... get my feet moving, stay busy, and go about my business as I have for four or five years,” he said.
“I’ve got to trust that that’s going to come.”
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Virat Kohli rejected criticism of the spin-friendly Chepauk pitch, asserting that his side showed the requisite grit and determination to conquer England on it in the second Test with the toss not being a matter of concern at all.
End of the day’s play. It’s been a good day for Team India. The 162-run partnership between Rohit and Rahane was crucial. Both the batsmen made batting look easy whereas it isn’t that easy a wicket to bat on. The ongoing stand between Axar and Pant will be important too, it will be interesting to see how far they can take India tomorrow. That’s it from us today, but do join us tomorrow as we will bring the live updates from Day 2 of the second Test. We hope you enjoyed our coverage.
Follow the latest updates on the opening day of the second Test between India and England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on our live blog.