England ended the year 2019 with a painstaking defeat at the hands of South Africa in the Boxing Day Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. The touring party was outsmarted by the hosts in all facets of the game as South Africa won the game by 107 runs and took the lead in the four-match Test series.
Ahead of the team’s tour of South Africa, England lost the two-match Test series against New Zealand by 1-0. They might have won the ICC Cricket World Cup at home but their appalling record in the whites is indeed a worrying sign. Joe Root-led team kick-started the year with a defeat in the West Indies and to make things worse, they ended the year with a defeat in South Africa. They also failed to retain the Ashes in their own backyard in a 2-2 drawn series.
Having played as many as 12 Tests throughout the year, England have won four, drawing two and losing the other six games. They are currently placed fourth in the ICC Test rankings with 102 points and are ranked sixth in the ICC Test Championship points table with just 56 points.
After a string of forgettable defeats, England Test captain Joe Root reflected on the team’s performance adding that it has been a “frustrating year” for them in the longest form of the game. “It’s been frustrating. It’s been quite a big year of transition in Test cricket. There’s been a lot of change over the year,” Root was quoted as saying by India Today.
However, Joe Root highlighted that there were some positive signs away from home as they won 3-0 away in Sri Lanka in November 2018, adding that the young side would have made a good impact in 2019. “If you look at where we were at the back end of Sri Lanka (in 2018), you’d really have thought we were making strides away from home with signs that things had improved,” he added.
Joe Root confident of things improving in Tests
England still have a lot of catching up to do to make an indelible mark at the start of the next year. However, Root is pretty confident that there are a talented bunch of prospects who are willing to give everything at the field in order to take the team to the next level. After South Africa assignment, they will jet off to Sri Lanka in March before inviting West Indies and Pakistan in the summer of 2020.
“There is still a long way that this team can go and we are looking at all the areas where we can get better. It’s a determined group of players who are very keen to do that. You cannot fault anyone’s effort, anyone’s desire, the character to want to improve.
“Over time, if we can learn these lessons and find ways of shifting our mentality into the first innings from the second innings, then we are going to give ourselves a much better chance of winning games,” Joe Root further said. England will be looking forward to making an instant impact when they take the field against South Africa for the second Test match in Cape Town on January 3.
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