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Critics round on England after crushing defeat to South Africa

UK & international sports | Published:

Joe Root admitted England’s off-colour performance, after their impressive win at Lord’s the previous week, had aged him.

Joe Root's England came in for plenty of criticism after their defeat at Trent Bridge

Joe Root has heard damning criticism from many quarters after England’s landslide defeat in only his second Test as captain.

Friend and mentor Michael Vaughan, fellow former England captain Nasser Hussain and even current coach Trevor Bayliss were among those aghast at several elements of a performance which resulted in a 340-run trouncing at Trent Bridge as South Africa levelled the Investec series at 1-1.

England twice batted ineptly, losing all 20 wickets in 96.1 overs thanks to collapses which saw them ship seven for 62 first time round and then their last five for 11 as they were bowled out for 133 before tea on day four.

The first innings was enough to bring a withering assessment from Vaughan – one with which Root took issue at his post-match press conference. Vaughan suggested England had failed to show Test cricket due respect and done themselves few favours by adopting a “Twenty20” tempo which backfired.

After their batting failed again, Hussain spoke on Sky Sports of a “rubbish brand of cricket” and “abysmal selection” – while Bayliss reflected that he had watched in “disbelief” as England “had a shocker”.

On the BBC’s Test Match Special, Vaughan said: “The England batting has been appalling. Maybe it’s a lack of respect about what the game is.

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“They look like they are playing a Twenty20 game. They have this approach of attack, attack, attack. There is no thought or feeling of seeing off a bowler or wearing a team down.”

After England’s sixth defeat in their last eight Tests, new captain Root was visibly taken aback when informed of the remarks from a man who began his career at the same Sheffield club as he himself did.

Root said: “I think that’s very unfair. I can’t believe he’s actually said that. We pride ourselves on winning series like this, and unfortunately we’ve played poorly this week.”

Joe Root walks off after being dismissed by South Africa's Chris Morris
Joe Root walks off after being dismissed by South Africa’s Chris Morris (Nick Potts/PA)

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The 26-year-old admitted England’s off-colour performance, after their impressive win at Lord’s the previous week, had aged him.

“I definitely feel older – it’s been a tough week,” he said. “South Africa responded very well from Lord’s – and especially with the bat, we didn’t assess the situation well enough in the first innings.

“After that, we couldn’t find a way to get back into the game. It was very disappointing the way we played today. We’re a side that doesn’t like giving anything away, and unfortunately this wasn’t a fair representation of how good we are as a team.”

Joe Root admitted England's off-colour performance had aged him
Joe Root admitted England’s off-colour performance had aged him (Nick Potts/PA)

Root’s opposite number Faf du Plessis had an instant galvanising effect, having returned after missing South Africa’s defeat at Lord’s because of the birth of his first child.

He said: “Pretty much from the toss through to the last ball we bowled, we were in control of the Test match.”

England are set to discover the results of X-Rays on number three batsman Gary Ballance’s left index finger after he took a blow from Morne Morkel in their second innings.

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