Root: Sky is the limit for England after 'very special' South Africa series win

By Sports Desk January 27, 2020

Joe Root believes the sky is the limit for England as a Test team after they completed a 3-1 series win in South Africa.

England wrapped up the series with a 191-run victory in the fourth Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday.

The triumph marks England's first series success since a 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

Dom Sibley, playing in only his second Test series, top-scored for England with 324 runs, forming an opening partnership with another new boy in Zak Crawley.

Ollie Pope scored two half-centuries and his first century while spinner Dom Bess vindicated his selection with a crucial six-wicket performance in the third Test. 

With so many young players contributing to an impressive victory, captain Root is confident there is a lot more to come from his side.

"Very special indeed. It's taken a lot," Root said of the win at the post-match presentation. "To pick ourselves up and play the way we have done in the last three games is extremely pleasing.

"It's been a real squad effort from a number of guys that are very much at the start of their international careers.

"The sky's the limit for us now, we have to keep looking to get better. It's been a fantastic series for our development as a Test team."

Ben Stokes won the man of the series award, having played an instrumental role, most notably in the second Test in Cape Town, where he scored 119 runs, claimed six catches and took a match-winning 3-35 in South Africa's second innings. 

He also struck a century in the third Test and finished the series with 12 catches, the most of any fielder, his performance coming after his father was rushed to hospital days before the series.

"The most important thing is that we're walking away with a series win," Stokes said. "It's been a bit of a rollercoaster.

"I hope the old man is in his hospital bed watching this with a big smile on his face."

Mark Wood was the key figure in England's fourth Test win, taking nine wickets in the match and also forming the highest 10th-wicket partnership at the Wanderers as he and Stuart Broad combined for 82 to push the tourists to 400.

Man of the match Wood had not expected to play in the series finale, but he was included after elbow soreness led to Jofra Archer's omission.

The seamer, who has frequently battled injuries in his career, said: "There was a bit of doubt going in but boy am I glad I played now.

"I'm over the moon. I've had a lot of dark days, credit to the backroom staff, everyone's so supportive, [head coach] Chris Silverwood tries to get me to have fun."

Describing his approach, he added: "I give it everything I've got, run in hard for the captain, as much energy as I can, and let it fly."

Related items

  • West Indies women relieved after ‘tricky’ Thailand opener West Indies women relieved after ‘tricky’ Thailand opener

    Stafanie Taylor says West Indies are breathing a collective sigh of relief after surviving a scare against Thailand in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup opener in Perth.

    Taylor’s side beat the tournament debutants by seven wickets in the first game to be held at the WACA Ground, but the win was not as flattering as the scorecard may suggest.

    West Indies looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory when restricting their opponents to 78 for nine from the full 20 overs.

    But Thailand’s impressive fielding display saw three quick wickets fall before the seventh over – including that of the dangerous Deandra Dottin – to set the nerves racing in the dugout.

    “It wasn’t great seeing our wickets fall so early, but I’m relieved I can smile now,” said captain Taylor after scoring 26 not out and taking 3-13 to lead the way for the West Indies women.

    “It’s tricky to play a team like Thailand who we have never played before. You have to spend a little bit of time at the crease getting used to their bowlers and we didn’t do that properly at the start of our innings.

    “They gave us some nervous moments. Their bowling attack can definitely cause some trouble at this year’s World Cup.

    “They have some really good bowlers and I think in a few years’ time, they will be giving teams challenges.”

    They may have underperformed at the crease but debutants Thailand produced a moment for the tournament highlight reel from the field with Naruemol Chaiwai producing a direct hit to run out Lee-Ann Kirby and claim her country’s first Women’s T20 World Cup wicket.

    Teenager Nannapat Khoncharoenkai top-scored with the bat with 33 from 48 balls but opener Nattaya Boochatam, who was caught early for two, knows her side can’t be relying on the middle-order in future outings.

    “We know we could have had a chance if we’d got more runs on the board,” said Boochatam.

    “We scored too few today, but we think our performance will make people take us more seriously.

    “It has given us motivation to do better and show we can compete on the global stage. It’s been a long time waiting and we are so excited to be out on the ground at a World Cup.”

  • Hasaranga steers Sri Lanka to dramatic win after Hope century Hasaranga steers Sri Lanka to dramatic win after Hope century

    Wanindu Hasaranga inspired Sri Lanka to a dramatic one-wicket win in the first ODI against West Indies with the highest successful chase at Colombo.

    The Windies had set the hosts 290 to win the opening match of the three-game series, Shai Hope leading the way with 115 as he scored his ninth ODI century.

    It was a target that looked like it could well be beyond Sri Lanka after their innings lost impetus following a 111-run first-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (50) and captain Dimuth Karunaratne (52).

    Thisara Perera played an in important role with a 22-ball 32, but when he was caught off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph the match was very much in the balance with Sri Lanka on 253-7.

    However, Hasaranga (42 off 39) produced a performance that belied his ODI average of 14.37 to get Sri Lanka over the finish line.

    Hasaranga's ability to find the rope – he struck a quartet of fours and one maximum – and inaccurate death bowling from the Windies left the scores level going into the final over.

    A direct-hit run out from Sunil Ambris to remove Lakshan Sandakan frayed the nerves a little, but the one run Sri Lanka needed came from a Keemo Paul no-ball off the next delivery.

  • Ervine makes century but Hasan keeps Zimbabwe in check Ervine makes century but Hasan keeps Zimbabwe in check

    Craig Ervine scored his first century in five-day cricket as a captain but four wickets from Nayeem Hasan kept Zimbabwe in check on day one of the only Test against Bangladesh.

    Ervine, standing in as skipper for Sean Williams, played a captain's innings at Shere Bangla National Stadium with a 227-ball 107 before falling to Hasan late on day one in the 100th international meeting between the teams.

    Prince Masvaure (64), who also fell to Hasan, rode his luck at times but made a valuable knock in a century stand with Ervine as Zimbabwe closed on 228-6.

    Hasan was chief protagonist with the ball, bowling 40 per cent of his team's overs and also accounting for Brendan Taylor (10) and Sikandar Raza (18) in a superb showing.

    Ervine was a steady hand for Zimbabwe on what appeared a difficult pitch for batting and the tourists were only one down for 80 runs at lunch with Kevin Kasuza (2) lasting just eight overs.

    Bangladesh were frustrated by Ervine and Masvaure, who added 111 runs for the second wicket, before the latter drove one straight back to Hasan for a sharp catch down to his left.

    Taylor played on with a poor shot before lunch and Raza and Timycen Maruma (7) also departed as Bangladesh made more inroads.

    Ervine whipped one away off the pads for two to celebrate his century but Bangladesh had their man in the penultimate over of the day when Hasan got one to straighten up, hitting the skipper's back leg before rattling the stumps.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.