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Joe Root commends England’s ‘bouncebackability’

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Joe Root, the England skipper, said it was “really important” to get the consolation win in the third and final Test against West Indies in St Lucia to finish the series.

England have a busy summer ahead of them, with the 2019 World Cup starting in May, followed by a five-Test Ashes series at home. Root hopes that the 232-run victory against West Indies will set the tone for his team ahead of the marquee events.

“It was nice to finish on a win,” Root said on Tuesday, February 12. “It’s been a tough old tour and we played some poor cricket at times but I thought this week we played really well. We have to learn from some of the mistakes but we also have to look at the things we’ve done well and we did plenty of that this week.

“It was really important we won this week. There are very big games around the corner, whether it’s World Cup cricket or the Ashes, and for this team to show that ‘bouncebackability’ and strength of character holds us in good stead heading into a high-pressure summer.”

The series loss against West Indies caused England to slip from No.3 to No.5 in the ICC Test Rankings, having previously climbed to No. 2 after their 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka. While Root expressed disappointment over his team’s run being halted in the Caribbean, he believes the experience only adds to their long-term development.

“As a whole group, players, management, selectors, we are always looking to improve,” Root admitted. “We have done things differently and you look at this winter compared to last winter, four wins out of six looks like a lot better.

“If you look at things on a broader spectrum, and see this team developing. Of course, it’s disappointing to lose the series 2-1 [but] I feel that overall we are widening our ability as a team and a squad. Long term we will see that process continue.”

Pacer Mark Wood, who returned 5-41 in the first innings, was England’s biggest success story of the final Test. He came into the series with a tweaked run-up, which helped enhance his speed by a considerable margin. The seamer consistently clocked deliveries over 90mph, including the fastest ball of the series at 94.8mph.

“I don’t think I’ve ever stood that far back at slip before,” said Root, lavishing praise on Wood, who was adjudged Player of the Match.

‘It was great to see him unleash himself and see him bowl with that pace and freedom’ – Joe Root

“I’m still nursing a hole in my hand from the first one I clung on to. It’s a great story. To go away, work how he has with England Lions and find really good form. He should be really proud of what he did this week.

“It was great to see him unleash himself and see him bowl with that pace and freedom and that enjoyment as well. You always feel you’ll get the best out of Woody when he’s enjoying himself. We might have be smart about how we use him – it’s a learning curve for me.”

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