Joe Root praised his England players for their much improved second-innings performance in the opening Test defeat against New Zealand, but the Yorkshire star pulled no punches when admitting “I’m not interested in looking at excuses” after their 58 all out debacle in the first.
England failed to recover from posting their sixth lowest ever total and went 1-0 down under lights at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The second and final Test is in Christchurch, starting on Friday, and this time played with the red ball instead of pink.
At least Yorkshire fans could take some pleasure from Kane Williamson’s brilliant 102 for the Kiwis, his 18th Test century and the most by a New Zealand batsman.
Williamson helped his side post 427-8 declared, taking a lead of 369 and meaning they could stand the loss of two days to rain and still win by an innings and 49 runs.
Root with 51 was one of four half-centurions in England’s second-innings 320 along with Mark Stoneman, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.
But their improved application does not mask over batting issues which have been happening for some time now, most recently earlier this winter when they lost the Ashes 4-0.
Root said: “We weren’t good enough, simple as that.
“It’s difficult to get back into a Test Match from that [being bowled out for 58], we have to learn our lessons quickly.
“It’s difficult to single anything out, we need to adapt quicker because that wasn’t good enough. I’m not interested in looking at excuses.
“The character of the dressing room and the effort was fantastic today. We can take a lot from this second innings.”
Root refused to be drawn on the Australia ball tampering controversy, but he did say: “It’s not been great for cricket.”
Williamson’s effort, the blueprint of how to bat in difficult conditions, came on the back of six wickets for Trent Boult and four for new ball partner Tim Southee before lunch on day one.
The captain also took a stunning one-handed catch at gully to get rid of Stuart Broad.
Yorkshire’s overseas batsman for the second half of 2018 said: “The first innings was the perfect storm.
‘‘The boys put the ball in a beautiful area, found the edge and off stumps.
‘‘Then for the guys to build those partnerships with the bat against an England bowling attack where runs were tough to come by (was outstanding).”
This was only New Zealand’s tenth ever Test victory over England, while this was England’s fifth defeat in six Tests this winter.