Watch day one of the second #raisethebat Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Thursday
Last Updated: 12/08/20 4:56pm
Captain Joe Root says England’s ability to win the first Test against Pakistan despite a below-par display for the first three days has swelled the squad’s confidence.
England turned around a first-innings deficit of 107 to earn a three-wicket success at Old Trafford, with Chris Woakes (84no) and Jos Buttler (75) helping the hosts to chase down a target of 277.
Ahead of the second Test – which begins at 10.30am on Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket – Root said he’s looking for England to start strongly despite the absence of Ben Stokes, who will miss the rest of the series due to family reasons.
England vs Pakistan
August 13, 2020, 10:30am
“The most pleasing thing for me was that for the majority of the game we were behind the eight-ball, we were below our own personal standards but we managed to hang in there and stay in the game and then on that last day we showed a huge amount of skill, quality and nous as well,” he said.
“At times we were quite smart – I think that Jos and Wiz (Woakes) marshalled that partnership very well. They saw the danger of the new ball and were quite proactive in making sure that wasn’t too big a factor. They took calculated risks and got us across the line.
“For us to be way off the mark for pretty much three days and still win, holds a lot of weight and gives the guys a huge amount of confidence because – when you’re not playing very well but still find ways to get across the line, that’s a great trait to have.
“It’s not a position we want to be in very much in the future but it’s obviously nice to know that the character is always there.”
Earlier this week opener Dom Sibley has called on his fellow batsmen to step up in the absence of Stokes, who memorably played such a pivotal role in England’s 2019 World Cup win and who propelled the Test side to an incredible victory at Headingley in the Ashes.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” Root admitted. “For a long period of time he’s been arguably our best player. He offers so much in all departments and is a big leader within the group as well.
“But it’s an opportunity for someone to come in and try to fill those boots and that’s always exciting for someone to take on that challenge and whoever gets that responsibility has to really try to step up to the plate, trust in their own game and hopefully help us go 2-0 up in the series.”
England’s victory at Old Trafford was their sixth in succession under Root’s captaincy – the first Test defeat to West Indies earlier in the summer having come under Stokes’ leadership when Root was attending the birth of his second child.
But the Yorkshireman was quick to play down the winning sequence, instead preferring to focus on his own shortcomings and his team’s ongoing improvement.
“I didn’t think that I had a very good game last week, to be honest – I think I made a few tactical errors – but that can happen from time-to-time. You’re not always going to get it right,” the Yorkshireman said.
“Most importantly it’s very clear for the guys about how we’re looking to play and that the messages are consistent and that we’re seeing improvement, week in, week out. That’s a really promising sign for the group and long may that continue.
“It’s not about how many games we win with me as captain, it’s about us being consistently getting better over a long period of time and looking to be that number one side in the world.
“If we can contain that attitude collectively, winning obviously breeds confidence all the time and if people put in performances like Jos and Wiz did on that final day, that will breed confidence in the rest of the guys too.”
England squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
Watch day one of the second #raisethebat Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Thursday, and across Sky’s digital platforms.