Captain Joe Root urges England to ‘harness potential’ after Headingley triumph

England captain Joe Root leads his team off the field after a comfortable victory inside three days over Pakistan at Headingley. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
England captain Joe Root leads his team off the field after a comfortable victory inside three days over Pakistan at Headingley. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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JOE ROOT is challenging his England players to show that their victory at Headingley was no one-off.

The England captain wants them to deliver such performances consistently after they thrashed Pakistan by an innings and 55 runs.

England were unrecognisable from their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Lord’s, and Root said: “It’s now about replicating that more consistently. The challenge now is to harness our potential.

“It’s very important that we don’t paper over the cracks and think that this is going to be us moving forward forever.

“We have to make sure that we don’t find ourselves in positions like we did last week.

“It was very tough last week for the group. We had to show a lot of character. I asked a lot of things from the group of players, and everything I asked for was delivered on the field.

“Ultimately, you can’t ask for more as a captain, and it’s a really good step in the right direction.”

England’s first win in nine Tests was achieved through a much better batting performance and a collectively impressive effort from the bowlers.

Root was thrilled as they levelled the two-match series, stopping the rot after a difficult winter.

“I’ve definitely learned huge amounts through the last eight games or so,” he added, “and it’s really important now that we take this forward.

Pakistan's Azhar Ali is bowled by England's James Anderson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Pakistan's Azhar Ali is bowled by England's James Anderson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“As I say, we don’t want to use this to paper over the cracks. We know that we’re not the finished article. We’ve got to work really hard to get to our goal.

“Ultimately, it’s the first step towards making that happen. It was a really pleasing week, and I’m thrilled to bits.”

Root’s joy was heightened by the criticism that attended the setback at Lord’s, with coach Trevor Bayliss in particular coming under fire.

Root said that Bayliss is “the easy target” when England lose and that the team used criticism as extra motivation.

We don’t want to use this to paper over the cracks. We know that we’re not the finished article. We’ve got to work really hard to get to our goal.

England captain, Joe Root

“I asked the group to play with pride and passion, and an element of that comes out of criticism,” he said.

“You want to prove people wrong and, to play at this level, you have to have that within you.

“I also knew coming into this series that Pakistan are a very talented team. We knew it was not going to be a walk in the park, and that was proved at Lord’s.”

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, the former Yorkshire player, defended his decision to bat on winning the toss instead of choosing to expose England’s struggling batsmen.

Pakistan were dismissed for 174 before England scored 363 in reply, the tourists making 134 in their second innings.

“It was the right decision to bat, but England’s bowlers performed very well in the first two hours on the first morning,” said Sarfraz.

England's Jos Buttler hits out against Pakistan on day three at Headingley. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

England's Jos Buttler hits out against Pakistan on day three at Headingley. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“It meant we couldn’t capitalise on a good batting track.

“We weren’t as disciplined as we were at Lord’s, and our batting wasn’t up to the mark. We have a very young side which is still learning. I’m proud of my team and the way we played at Lord’s.”

Ben Stokes will miss England’s forthcoming one-day internationals due to the hamstring tear that kept him out of the Test.

The all-rounder will sit out the game against Scotland in Edinburgh on June 10 and what the England and Wales Cricket Board have described as “the first part” of the five-match series against Australia from June 13-24.

Stokes, who sustained the injury in practice on Wednesday, will return to Durham to follow a rehabilitation programme.

Dawid Malan, the Middlesex batsman, has been added to the squad for the Scotland game, while Kent batsman Sam Billings has been called into the squad for the Australia series.

Meanwhile, Stuart Broad has defended his right to hit back at criticism from former England captain Michael Vaughan who had suggested in the build-up to the Test that it might be time to drop Broad or his pace partner James Anderson to “ruffle some feathers”.

Broad revealed on Friday that he phoned Vaughan after being angered by “targeted” and “unfair” comments.

Vaughan reiterated his views on the radio on Saturday, prompting Broad to write in his newspaper column yesterday: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but surely that also means players have the right to respond to comments made about them?”

Headingley report: Page 5.