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Joe, the ‘Root’ cause for England’s defeat at Lord’s

Joe, the ‘Root’ cause for England’s defeat at Lord’s : The 75-run loss to Pakistan in the first Investec Test is something with the Englishmen could have avoided.

The target of 283 runs set by Pakistan for England to chase and go 1-0 up in the series was very much achievable given the depth of batting in the form of their skipper, Alistair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Gary Ballance and James Vince.

Partnerships were the need of the hour. They had sufficient time on hand to apply themselves and play a patient knock. Pakistan bowling was no lethal that the English batters ‘caved in’.

Cook edged a Rahat Ali delivery outside the off-stump in an attempt to leave the ball, but the damage was already done. By that time the bowlers had not even settled in. Alistair who played a cameo notching up 81 runs with 12 fours in the first assay failed to reach the double digit.

Hales failed in both the innings and just did not take off. He became Rahat’s second victim, edging one to Mohammad Hafeez in the first slip. This pushed England on the back foot, losing a couple of wickets only with 32 runs on the board.

Root, at the other end, should have taken up the responsibility of ‘steadying the ship’. Instead he literally gave away his wicket to Pakistan on a platter.

An optimistic pull of a Rahat Ali delivery, with the ball moving across at the height of the chest and a fielder (Yasir Shah) in the deep, was the least that Root should have attempted. Yasir leapt to his right and took the catch with his feet off the ground.

In the first innings also, Root made an identical mistake of trying to slog-sweep Yasir Shah, who had tossed up one outside the off-stump, over mid-on but ended in getting a top-edge and skied a simple catch to Hafeez.

Both Cook and Root were going good, putting up a century partnership but Root’s avoidable sweep put an end to all that.

Root had missed his 21st Test half-century by a couple of runs in the first innings. He had every opportunity to made good and to put up a formidable score in the second innings but clearly failed to do so.

After the dismissal of Root, though there were some meaningful partnerships – 49 runs for the fourth wicket between Vince (42) and Ballance (43), 39 runs for the fifth wicket between Ballance and Bairstow (48) and 56 runs for the seventh wicket between Bairstow and Waokes 23), did not help England much.

Decent partnerships from the top order batsmen would definitely have helped the team’s cause.

After having a very successful Ashes 2015, aggregating 460 runs from 9 innings, at an impressive average of 57.50 with a couple of centuries and equal number of half-tons, Root managed to score only 87 runs from 4 innings at a pathetic average of 21.75 with a solitary half-century in the recently concluded 3-Test series against Sri Lanka in June and early July.

Root, who is looked upon as the future skipper of England, should own up responsibility and help his team win encounters, more often than not.

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