Joe Root has told England’s batsman to learn from another error-strewn performance after they were rolled over inside three days to surrender their Test series against the West Indies.
England had vowed to follow-up their 381-run thrashing in Barbados with a truer reflection of their talents but were swept aside in Antigua, losing by 10 wickets after leaving the hosts a nominal chase of 14.
The Windies have been in magnificent form thus far but England’s batting line-up cannot be absolved for their part in back-to-back defeats.
In four attempts on tour they have made 77, 246, 187 and 132 - the kind of totals that heap pressure on bowling attacks and lay the groundwork for crushing defeats.
“Scoring under 200 in both innings isn’t going to win you many games of cricket, so we’ve got to go away, learn from it and come back stronger for it,” said Root.
“We just haven’t scored enough runs. When experienced players aren’t making scores over 50 it makes it very difficult for the rest of the guys around them.
“I think we have got to be better at what we do, or maybe do things slightly differently. The choice comes down to the individual. I can’t bat for 11 guys, neither can Trevor (Bayliss, head coach) or Ramps (batting coach Mark Ramprakash).
“There were a couple of disappointing dismissals that guys will have to look at individually, so we go about things maybe slightly differently in future.
“The responsibility is down to the individual, but we will stick together and work on it as a group and try and come back with a really strong response in the next Test.”
Root was dismissed for seven twice in the match but was alone among the specialists in receiving a pair of extremely difficult deliveries. In the second innings alone Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali played shots that veered somewhere between inept and irresponsible given the match situation and a relentlessly unpredictable pitch.
There were occasions when the surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium appeared unplayable but they occurred almost exclusively when the West Indies had ball in hand. In their first innings the home side chiselled out 306 and occupied the crease for 131 overs.
“We have to learn from the way they went about stuff in certain areas, especially how they batted yesterday against some very high skilled bowling,” said Root.
“It was definitely a bowler friendly surface. I wouldn’t say it was a fair contest between bat and ball but both sides have played on it and they’ve managed better in certain areas better than us.
“We felt unlucky but it’s not an excuse, they managed to find a way to a good score on that surface.”
After two unscheduled days off - it is not yet known if England
will indulge in any so-called ‘naughty boy nets’ - the contest resumes in St Lucia, where the only prize available is the avoidance of a clean sweep.
“It’s very disappointing. We came here to win so to find ourselves out of it with a game to go is hard to take,” added Root. “We have been outplayed, outperformed and we have to take that on the chin.”