Cricket: Joe Root responds to England criticism during New Zealand draw

Joe Root’s England drew with New Zealand in the Lord’s Test (Picture: Getty)

Joe Root has defended England’s conservative approach after they opted against attempting to chase down 273 on the final day of the Lord’s Test against New Zealand.

All results were possible after Black Caps captain Kane Williamson declared at lunch with New Zealand 169-9.

But it quickly became clear that England intended to bat out for a draw rather than chance their arm at a fourth-innings chase, with opener Dom Sibley scoring 60 from 207 balls as the hosts reached 170-3 when the teams shook hands.

The two-match series will now be decided at Edgbaston, with the second Test starting on Thursday.

Asked about England’s approach with the bat, England skipper Root said: ‘You look at the conditions and surface, it was very challenging. It was slow and hard to time the ball and get any sort of rhythm.

‘You look at the target and amount of overs you have, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that. We knew it was always going to be difficult.

‘Initially, we set out to have quite an open mind and it got to the stage where it didn’t feel like it was quite possible to get that on.

New Zealand attempted to force an unlikely victory on the final day (Picture: Getty)

‘Of course it will disappoint a few people but from our point of view, we’re very much in this series. We leave here level and give ourselves a great chance to win the series at Edgbaston.’

New Zealand were on top for most of the Test after debutant Devon Conway scored 200 on debut to take the Kiwis to 378 in the first innings.

Rory Burns continued his fine form this summer with a hundred of his own, but England still trailed by more than 100 after being undone by Tim Southee (6-43) and Kyle Jamieson (3-85).

New Zealand put their foot down this morning as they looked to set up a declaration, and Williamson pulled the plug on his team’s innings at lunch, setting England 273 to win in 75 overs.

Root’s side resisted the temptation of a final-day chase and former England captain Nasser Hussain felt the hosts should have showed more ‘intent’ as the Test petered out.

He told Sky Sports: ‘It was disappointing for the fans. I’m surprised England didn’t show a bit more intent – there only seemed to be one side keen to win.

‘It’s why Kane Williamson stayed on at the end there. He could have shaken hands with 15 overs to go, but he didn’t because he was the one that was playing the positive cricket.

‘I understand why England didn’t go for it, you have to put it into context and they’ve lost their last three Test matches, plus they’ve got no Buttler, no Stokes. If they were playing, they may have had a bit more intent.

‘You do have to look at the bigger picture of where this England team are and where they’re trying to get to. But at least try to go at it hard, show some intent, and then if you get four down, then you can block. 

‘I was surprised that in the whole 70 overs they showed no intent at all. I think the fans here deserve better than that.’

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