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."

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