Pink-ball Test: Joe Root sees spark of resistance in loss
The 275-run defeat in the second Ashes Test might look morale-crushing for England, but captain Joe Root wants his team to take inspiration from their final-day resistance at the Adelaide Oval and consider it a template to be followed in their endeavour to claw back from a 0-2 deficit in the five-game series.
“The Ashes are on the line here, if that is not motivation, I don’t know what is,” Root said after the day-night Test. Jos Buttler, who made 26 from 207 balls, was the face of England’s dogged fight on Monday and Root wants similar grit in the other players of his team going forward. “Ultimately that is the attitude and the mentality we have to harness over the next five days,” Root said.
“I am extremely proud of the way the guys fought today (Monday), that attitude and desire, that’s how we need to go about a whole Test match.
“I thought Jos’s innings was outstanding on that pitch. He should have gained a lot more confidence from this.”
Root, who now has the most Test defeats — 23 — by an England captain, expects more from his bowlers as well. “We need to be braver and get the ball up there,” he said. “The most disappointing thing for me is the amount of no-balls we keep bowling. We don’t think Australia are that much better than us in these conditions. We are better than we have played.”
Before the remaining three Tests, in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart, Root had a message for his teammates. “We need to believe, we need to keep learning, we need to learn faster. We can’t make the same mistake we have done so far,” Root added. “If we do that, I am convinced, we have what it takes.”
Australia’s stand-in captain Steve Smith said that the hosts would not take their foot off the pedal in the third Test, which begins in Melbourne on Sunday. “England are a good side and we have not really let them back into the contest yet. That’s how we want to keep it,” said the top order batsman.
Smith, however, said despite England’s fight in Adelaide, he was always confident of victory. “I was not getting nervous just yet… I thought there was enough in the wicket and I was confident.”
(Written with agency inputs)