Joe Root insists England will “not make too many emotional decisions” after they crashed to a 251-run defeat against Australia at Edgbaston to fall 1-0 down in the 2019 Ashes.
England needed to bat out the final day to escape with a draw but Nathan Lyon’s six for 49 hastened their demise, all out for 146 before tea as Australia drew first blood in the Specsavers series.
Lyon’s efforts threw Moeen Ali’s ineffective contribution into harsh light, with England’s premier off-spinner offering neither a consistent threat nor control on day four as Australia were allowed to rack up a mammoth total.
Moeen’s place in the XI has come under scrutiny, with Jack Leach tipped to replace the Worcestershire all-rounder in the second Test at Lord’s next week, but England captain Root was tight-lipped about the situation.
Root said: “With Mo, you’ve got to remember how threatening he can be and what an asset he has been to this team in the past. Whenever he’s been written off before he generally comes back stronger, especially in English conditions.
“He’ll be a bit disappointed about how Sunday went and how this game’s gone but I’m sure he’ll dust himself down and make sure he’s in a good head space going into Lord’s.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re very clear about we approach the next game and not make too many emotional decisions. We’ll sit down as a selection panel and pick a squad from there.”
Root also defended the decision to field James Anderson after England’s record wicket-taker was restricted to four overs on the opening morning before suffering an injury to the same right calf that left him doubtful to feature in Birmingham.
His absence seemed decisive as England’s bowling options were limited thereafter, while his prognosis for the rest of the series remains unclear.
Asked if he regretted selecting Anderson, Root replied: “No, not at all. He passed every medical testing. He was fit to play.
“It’s one of those freak scenarios where he pulled up – because it’s the same calf, we’re not sure whether it’s a slightly different injury, we’ll have to wait to see what the scans say.
“But it’s an easy thing to look back on and say we’d have done things differently. It was a unanimous decision for him to play.
“Jimmy in those conditions, if he bowls 15 overs, things could have been very different in the first innings in general, it’s a different game completely.”
With Anderson unlikely to feature at the Home of Cricket, Jofra Archer has been heavily linked to make his Test bow.
Archer, England’s leading wicket-taker at the World Cup, will look to prove his own fitness in a Sussex Second XI fixture this week.
Root added: “With Jofra, we’re in a slightly different situation where he’ll have played a lot of cricket in between and we’ll have a clearer idea of where he’s at.”
Steve Smith was once again England’s nemesis, becoming only the fifth Australian to compile hundreds in either innings of an Ashes Test, with the hosts – as they had been in the 2017-18 series Down Under – seemingly powerless to stop the batsman.
Root said: “He’s got to start again when he gets to Lord’s. We’ve got to make sure that we make it very difficult for him to get in. When we get our chance early on, we’ve got to take it.”
Despite falling 1-0 down for the first time in a home Ashes series since 2005, Root was not unduly concerned, pointing out there were similar lows during their triumphant World Cup campaign.
He added: “Three days of this game we’ve pretty much controlled and been in charge of, barring an hour and a half. It’s easy to forget all of the good stuff we’ve done with a bowler down.
“It’s been frustrating the way it’s turned out but we’ve got to see it for what it is.
“Seeing emotionally how things changed throughout the World Cup is probably a good example to the group. Look at where things seemed to be after that Sri Lanka game, and where we finished up.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
Know more about Sport360 Application
A 3-0 series whitewash is in the sights of India as the Men in Blue get ready to lock horns with West Indies in the third and final T20I in Guyana on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli and his men have already captured the series after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with two victories in the United States.
Carlos Brathwaite and his men, on the other hand, are looking to avert a series clean sweep as they return to home comforts for the final clash.
Lacklustre Windies look for consolation win
The hosts will be desperate to come up with a win in the final T20 after what has been a disappointing last couple of months for the limited-overs outfit.
While they will be keen to avoid a series whitewash at the hands of the tourists, Brathwaite and his men will also want to take a morale-boosting win ahead of the three-match ODI series as well as the two Tests.
The hosts have been decent with the ball in hand with Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas leading the line, but they have been largely disappointing with the bat in hand.
Evin Lewis has failed in both attempts while the hugely talented Nichols Pooran has been unable to make it count despite getting good starts in both games. The defending world T20 champions will hope that their mercurial batsmen can click for once on Tuesday and hand them a pick-me-up before the start of the ODI series.
Changes on the cards for India
With the series already in the bag, Kohli has hinted that changes could be in store for India when they take the field in the final T20.
“Winning is always going to be a priority. But sealing the series gives the chance to bring a few guys in,” the India skipper had stated after the team’s 22-run win in the second T20.
“The idea is always going to be to win first. But winning the first two games gives the cushion.”
Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Chahar, KL Rahul and Deepak Chahar are among the players who are yet to game in the series and they could all come into play in Tuesday’s clash.
Focus remains on India’s middle-order
While India have won both matches on the tour so far, they are yet to look truly convincing with the bat with Rohit Sharma the sole batsman to register a half-century.
Among the biggest disappointment has been the form of Rishabh Pant with the young wicketkeeper batsman mustering just four runs in two innings while throwing away his wicket in a rash fashion.
It continues an extensively bad run in the limited-overs formats for Pant who is yet to translate his success in Test cricket to white-ball cricket. It will be interesting to see if the young left-hander is given another opportunity on Tuesday given the fact that India’s team management is trying to groom him as MS Dhoni’s long-term successor.
One man who is definitely facing the axe for the final T20 is Manish Pandey with the middle-order batsman flattering to deceive in both innings so far on his international return for India.
West Indies: Evin Lewis, John Campbell, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite (c), Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini.
South Africa veteran pacer Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect in a bid to prolong his white-ball career.
The 36-year-old decision brings to a close a glittering Test career that saw him overtake Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s all-time leading wicket-taker in the five-day format. Overall in his Test career, Steyn bagged 439 wickets in 93 appearances at an average of less than 23.
The right-armed modern-day great had been hampered by a spate of injuries over the past three years beginning with a fractured shoulder in South Africa’s 2016 tour of Australia. His recent World Cup in England for the Proteas also came to a sad end with the pacer being ruled out of the tournament without playing a single game.
“Today I walk away from a format of the game I love so much. In my opinion Test cricket is the best version of this game,” Steyn said on his Test retirement.
#CSAnews #BreakingNews @DaleSteyn62 has brought down the curtain on one of the great fast bowling Test careers of the modern era when he announced his retirement from red-ball cricket with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/L3HmWXKRwV— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) August 5, 2019
“It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally. It’s terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what’s more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all.
“So, I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport. I’d like to thank everyone in cricket, no one specific, because everyone has been a part of my journey. And I look forward to continuing to play for the Proteas in the shorter formats.”
Steyn retires as the fifth-highest Test wicket-taker among pacers in the all-time list with only James Anderson, Glenn McGrath, Courtney Walsh and Stuart Broad ahead of him.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe hailed Steyn’s contributions to Proteas cricket following his decision to retire from Test cricket.
“Dale is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of cricket. From the time he made his Test debut against England in 2004 and dismissed their captain, Michael Vaughan, with a superb delivery, he has been one of the standout fast bowlers in world cricket,” the CSA chief executive stated.
“He has led the South African attack brilliantly and has set the standard for our future generations to follow. More than that he has been a wonderful mentor to our next generation of speedsters.
“We were saddened to hear of his decision, but it is one that management has to accept, and we thank him for his significant contribution to the sport and to the nation and wish him everything of the very best for the future.”