The victory for England in the final Test did not change the fate of the Ashes. The urn had already been sealed and Australia had carried out another successful heist in England. However, England’s 135-run victory at the Oval, helped them draw parity in the series at 2-2 salvaged a lot of pride for the side and Joe Root thinks he is on to something with this amazing set of players.
Joe Root says that the boys were motivated by the desire to not let Australia run away with the series and there was a lot of personal pride at stake. After the match, the English skipper said, “The scoreline looks a hell of a lot better than 3-1 and is probably a fair result”.
Joe Root has the urn in his sights and wants to go back to Australia in two years to bring the prestigious Ashes back to England. He wants to lead the side from the front in this attempt and don the armband proudly. After their success in ODIs culminated in the World Cup this summer, he believes England will focus on doing better in Test cricket.
“It has been a long, grueling summer. For English cricket, it is a success. There has been some phenomenal cricket. The World Cup was incredible and to be backed up by such an evenly matched Ashes – what a summer of cricket it has been”.
“It (victory at the Oval) is a blueprint of how we want to go about playing. We can get better and there are areas we want to strengthen and improve on, but guys have stepped up under pressure and that is pleasing. Hopefully, that is a starting point”.
“It looks like we’re starting to get to grips with Test cricket after a long period of One-Day cricket. In the next two and a half years we have to push and prepare for the tour of Australia. That will be a huge focus for me and English cricket”.
The captain also ushered a lot of praise on the find of the summer – Jofra Archer. The Bajan-born fast bowler was marvelous in the World Cup at home, where he bowled the all-important Super Over in the World Cup final against New Zealand. He followed that successful tournament by taking 22 scalps across four Tests in the Ashes. Besides averaging 20 with the ball, he also clocked outrageous speeds of 96 mph going head-to-head and toe-to-toe against centurion Matthew Wade in an outstanding duel.
He might have gone without a wicket in the second innings, that spell along with 6 for 62 in the first innings which was his second five-wicket haul earned him the player of the match award.
“He’s come in and been fantastic,” Root said. “Four Test matches, two six-fors. He has a way of having a huge impact on the game, you saw his spell here, it just changed the whole atmosphere of the ground, was incredible really. For someone right at the beginning of his career to have such a gift is entertaining, it’s great to be able to captain that and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of his journey”.
“When I faced him in the nets against the red ball, it was clear he was going to be something special. We’ve got to be careful of expecting too much of him. He’s a young guy at the start of his career, playing in three formats, and he’s still learning. I’m still learning how to get the best out of him as captain”.
“But one thing you can expect is he’s going to entertain and make things happen. At times he’s not going to bowl at 90mph, but he’ll go at two-and-a-half an over and create chances. I think making sure we don’t expect him to average 12 is something really important, while also knowing he’s got that ability to turn a game”.
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