Joe Root has called for patience as England’s batsmen look to provide the cornerstone for a winning formula in Test Match cricket.
Root accepted his share of the blame for their Test defeat against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui overnight, going 1-0 down in a two-match series.
England’s batting let them down twice in the game.
They were well placed after day one at 241-4, only to post a first-innings 353 amidst a number of ill-judged shots.
In contrast, New Zealand were 127-4 and made 615-9 declared, including a double century for wicketkeeper BJ Watling and maiden hundred for Mitch Santner.
Then, England stumbled to 197 all out on the final day to leave them with only a drawn series to play for when the two sides reconvene in Hamilton on Friday – Thursday evening UK, 10pm.
Captain Root scored two and 11 as his frustrating run of form continues.
With a new coach in Chris Silverwood in charge, the pair have spoken about putting a bigger emphasis on Test improvement after a drawn home Ashes series in the summer and the one-day World Cup success.
And batting long is the key ingredient to that.
If they are going to become the best in the world – they are currently ranked third by the ICC – they have to make more than 353 in the first innings of a fixture played out on a good batting surface – something Root is well aware of.
“We want to play in a certain way which has been very different to how we’ve had to play in our conditions over the last couple of years,” said the Yorkshire batsman. “And it’s going to take time, it’s not going to happen overnight.
“Clearly some of the shots were not good. Everyone’s very aware of that. I hold my hand up as well.
“I’ve had a bit of a rough time of it in terms of scores, I’m working extremely hard on it, and sometimes it doesn’t always come that easy to you.
“You have to get through difficult periods and go through a little bit of a dip sometimes. The fact that I’m captain at the same time, it’s an easy excuse to use as a player.
“I keep putting the work in, and I’m going to have to keep trusting my game because I’ve got a lot in the bank. I know I can do it – I don’t feel like I’m far away.”
There are many who believe the captaincy is affecting the 28-year-old’s form, with some calls for his removal from the role. However, the Sheffield-born star said: “I think that’s an easy thing to look at.
“I’m not too worried about it. It’s frustrating, and in this game I’ve found two dreadful ways to get out (caught in the slips and gully following shots lacking conviction). But I’m not far away.”
This series is not part of the ICC’s new World Test Championship competition. The following series against South Africa, starting on Boxing Day, is.