Tue, Jun 05, 2018 - Page 16 News List

England rout of Pakistan can’t ‘paper over cracks,’ skipper Joe Root warns

AFP, LEEDS, England

Pakistan’s Haris Sohail, left, is caught by England’s Dom Bess on the third day of the second Test at Headingley in Leeds, England, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

Joe Root on Sunday said that a dominant win against Pakistan must not be allowed to “paper over the cracks” when it comes to England’s form in Test cricket.

The England captain on Sunday saw his side end the two-match series all square at 1-1 after a thumping innings and 55-run victory completed inside three days at his Headingley home ground in Leeds.

However, the success, which meant England avoided a third successive series loss after reverses in Australia and New Zealand, only came about after Pakistan outplayed their hosts in all aspects of the game to win the first Test at Lord’s in London by nine wickets.

England do not have another Test match until they welcome India for the first of a five-match series at Edgbaston in Birmingham in August, with their attention now on white-ball cricket as they begin the buildup to next year’s World Cup on home soil, but Test skipper Root was keen that lessons be learned from a lamentable loss at Lord’s.

“It’s very important we don’t paper over the cracks and think this is going to be us [sorted out] forever,” Root told reporters. “We have to make sure we don’t find ourselves in those positions like last week [at Lord’s].”

“It could potentially be the start of something... It’s now about replicating it more consistently,” added Root, whose side would have dropped to a lowly seventh in the Test standings had they been beaten at Headingley. “I’m thrilled to bits, but we know we’re not the finished article — this is the first step toward our goal.”

England had lost six of their previous eight Tests and drawn the other two.

That winless streak led to questions over whether head coach Trevor Bayliss should remain in charge of the Test side after he guided the white-ball team to the top of the one-day international rankings.

Root, arguably England’s best batsman, has now gone 20 innings without a Test century and the match might have taken a different turn had not Jos Buttler been dropped on 4.

As it was Buttler blazed his way to 80 not out in a total of 363.

“I hope he gains so much confidence from these two weeks and really uses it to move himself forward as a Test player,” Root said of Buttler. “We all know how talented he is, what he’s capable of — so I hope this is something we’ll see a lot more frequently from him. That’s why he’s in the side, to try to take games away from the opposition as he did.”

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