Root: St Lucia victory a step forward for England

By Sports Desk February 12, 2019

Winning the third Test and avoiding a whitewash against West Indies represented a "step forward" for England, according to captain Joe Root.

England were comfortably beaten by 381 runs in the first match of the series before a hapless display in Antigua saw the tourists go down by 10 wickets.

In St Lucia, a 125-run first-innings stand from Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes was followed by a stunning five-for from Mark Wood, before Root's century set the Windies a hefty target of 485 for a whitewash.

Roston Chase made a gritty hundred to keep their hopes alive, but he received minimal support as the hosts went down by 232 runs on Tuesday.

"It was important we played well this week. It should be a real confidence-booster going into an exciting summer for us," said Root.

"West Indies deserved to win the series, they outplayed us in the first two games, but it's a real step forward for this team to perform like we did this week.

"I thought we played some good cricket. In that first innings we managed to find a way to ride out some difficult moments in bowler-friendly conditions and then we got up to a good score. Then the bowlers got us on top and we went from there.

"We played better, that's important, we've got a fantastic squad, but over the next couple of years you'll see a huge amount of improvement."

Windies captain Jason Holder was suspended for the final match and had no doubt that, despite claiming a 2-1 series victory, the team can get better.

"It was disappointing the way we played in the last Test but there are still a few positives to write home about. Credit to the boys - although we lost this match we played a pretty good series. We still have a lot of improvements to make but lots of positive coming out of the series," said Holder.

"We have to keep improving in all three facets of the game - we've got to be clinical and be a lot more consistent than we have been in the past.

"Credit to our bowling unit, I think our bowlers have been outstanding and we just need our batters to come to the party more often than not.

"[The win is] important in a few contexts. It counts in the ICC rankings, counts for the morale of the side as well.

"We need to continue to build and improve as a side, not just rest on our laurels and think we've achieved something. We're still pretty low in the rankings and our goal is to be number one in the world, so there's definitely a lot to improve on and put right and a lot of positives we need to keep within in the team."

Related items

  • Ambris called in as cover for Lewis, Dwayne Bravo, Pollard make reserves Ambris called in as cover for Lewis, Dwayne Bravo, Pollard make reserves

    The West Indies selectors have rewarded Sunil Ambris and John Campbell for the good work they did during the Walton Tri-Series in Ireland which concluded on Friday. 

  • 'Number 40 comes up a lot in the bible' - Sammy believes 40-year drought could be clue Windies about to lift World Cup 'Number 40 comes up a lot in the bible' - Sammy believes 40-year drought could be clue Windies about to lift World Cup

    Former Windies skipper Darren Sammy believes the regional team will be crowned ICC World Cup champions but has a particularly interesting reason for coming to that conclusion.

    The 12th edition of the tournament will mark 40 years since the West Indies won the tournament in 1979.  However, far from those days and despite a strong showing against the world number one-ranked team England recently, the Caribbean unit, who struggled to make the tournament in the first place, will not be most experts pick to win it all.

    Sammy, the former T20 World Cup champion believes different forces could be at play.  Despite the fact that team will be one of the lowest ranked heading into the tournament, Sammy believes the number 40 could hold a charm for the team, based on its religious and symbolic significance.

     The tournament will also be the last for the arguably the region’s biggest star, Chris Gayle, who is expected to retire following the tournament and the motivation could be high to give him a proper send off.

    “West Indies will win the World Cup. With Chris Gayle retiring, the ‘Universe Boss’ will want to leave with a bang. I just have a strong feeling. It’s been 40 years since we last won the World Cup. I’m a biblical man and the number 40 comes up a lot in the bible… I think it’s our time to rise up,” Sammy was quoted as saying by metro.co.uk.

  • Sarfraz: Pakistan must improve in the field Sarfraz: Pakistan must improve in the field

    Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed delivered mixed news on the injury front and acknowledged his side need to improve their fielding after they were beaten by three wickets at Trent Bridge to lose their ODI series against England.

    Having lost with respective totals of 361 and 358 at Southampton and Bristol respectively, Pakistan failed to defend a score of 340-7 on Friday, despite a significant wobble from their hosts in reply.

    Ben Stokes' unbeaten 71 proved crucial for England after Jason Roy, who was dropped twice, scored 114 amid some lacklustre work in the field.

    In the post-match presentation, Sarfraz lamented Pakistan's mistakes and provided updates on the fitness of Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Amir.

    "If we were fielding well and took catches, we had enough runs on the board," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

    "We've been working very hard for the last one and a half years and it was very improved, but the way we've fielded here in three matches is not up to the mark. We have to improve."

    Imam was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the elbow by a delivery from Mark Wood, but the opener was cleared of a fracture following X-rays and returned late in Pakistan's innings.

    Paceman Amir, meanwhile, has yet to feature in the series due to illness and it is unclear when he will be able to return, with Pakistan's Cricket World Cup opener just a fortnight away.

    "Imam hopefully will be ok," said Sarfraz. "He's got a bruise on his elbow so hopefully he will come back, but I'm not sure about Amir."

    Roy revealed his impressive innings had come as something of a surprise after he spent the night in hospital with his daughter.

    He told the BBC's Test Match Special: "I'm not in the form of my life. It was not my most fluent of innings but it was an extremely special feeling to get over three figures. I didn't see it coming.

    "I had a bit of a rough morning so this one is a special one for me and my family.

    "It was my little one. We had to take her to hospital at 1:30 in the morning. I stayed there until 8:30 and came back for a couple of hours sleep and got to the ground just before the warm-up and cracked on. It was a very emotional hundred."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.