Joe Root, who is England’s captain has called on his side to seize the moment in their series decider against Pakistan, with uncertainty over when and where they will next get the chance to play Test cricket.
Joe Root says the current crop of cricketers have the potential to become the number one ranked Test team in the world as he urged his teammates to finish their home summer with a win against Pakistan in the third Test at the Rose Bowl on Friday.
Despite losing the opening Test of their home season to West Indies England followed that with two victories to claim the series before beating Pakistan in the first Test by a narrow margin of three wickets.
The second Test at the same venue at Southampton ended in a draw after persistent rain coupled with bad light ruined the encounter and so England must win or draw the final Test to win the series.
Joe Root Credits Bowlers For Success And Says Batsmen Have To Prove Their Worth
Pakistan had scored 326 in the first innings of the first test and dismissed England for 219 thereby gaining a first-innings lead. However, England bounced back by bundling out Pakistan for 169.
England although reeling at 117/5 at one stage won by 3 wickets to take a 1-0 lead. England reached the stiff target of 277 after spirited batting performances by Jos Buttler (75) and Chris Woakes’s unbeaten 84.
“We know we are not the finished article, we know we have challenges and hurdles to overcome, and things we need to get better at if we want to be the number one team in the world. “But I can certainly see this group of players going on to do that,” Root told reporters on Thursday.
“We have got a great group of bowlers now that we feel cover a number of different surfaces and challenges wherever we go in the world. That is an exciting place to be.”
England’s bowlers have largely risen to the occasion this summer, but they have been less impressed with the bat, passing 320 only twice in the previous five tests.
“With the competition that is there, people have to keep proving their worth in the team. That is not just the bowlers, but the batters as well. We need to make sure we are driving the standards up all the time,” Root added.
Regarding the series against West Indies, the latter won the first test by 4 wickets chasing 200 after taking a first-innings lead of 114.
However, England came back strongly by winning the second and third tests by 113 and 269 runs respectively. They posted 469/9 in the first innings of the 2nd test and 369 in the first innings of 3rd test against West Indies.
Joe Root Says England Yet To Decide On Final Playing XI For Third Test
England will only decide on the morning of the test whether to go with an all seam attack, or select spinner Dom Bess, who has been used sparingly in the summer to date.
“We have not settled on an XI yet, it is so hard to tell with that wicket right now,” Joe Root said.
“It has been mostly undercover for the last week, and with the sun finally out and a bit of wind, it could change drastically over the course of today.
“So we want to keep everything on the table and then make a strong call tomorrow,” he maintained.
England, however, misses the services of their regular vice-captain all-rounder, Ben Stokes, as he flew to his hometown New Zealand citing personal reasons. His contribution is missed badly as he had scored 176 in the 2nd test against West Indies and bowled equally well.
In the third and final Test, England left out all-rounder Sam Curran and included pacer Jofra Archer as the third pacer along with James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Chris Woakes will be the third pacer and Dominic Bess will be the lone spinner.