England captain Joe Root blasted after ‘horrific’ capitulation against India

Just as Tim Paine faced scrutiny for his captaincy back in January, there are now question marks surrounding the leadership of England skipper Joe Root.

Virat Kohli’s spirited Indian outfit defied the odds to clinch a 151-run win over England at Lord’s on Monday evening, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series.

The hosts were seemingly cruising towards victory early on day five before the unlikely pairing of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah combined for a game-changing partnership in the morning session.

The duo survived 20 overs at the crease, their gritty 89-run stand pushing India’s lead past 270 and denying England any chance of victory.

The Indian seamers then rolled England for 120 in 51.5 overs to secure a remarkable comeback win at the Home of Cricket.

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Australian cricket fans would have experienced an unsettling feeling of deja vu watching England’s capitulation on Monday, with the performance oddly reminiscent of India’s triumph at the Gabba last summer.

The dismissal of wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant early on Day 5 should have been the final nail in the coffin for India; Bumrah averaged 3.55 with the bat in Test cricket, while Shami has batted at No. 11 on 22 occasions.

The cricket boffins behind WinViz gave India a 20 per cent chance of victory following Pant’s removal.

When Ishant Sharma departed for 16 soon after, England needed two quick wickets to set up a modest run chase, but their bowlers were seemingly more focused on reviving a petty feud than finishing the job at hand.

Virat Kohli celebrates the triumph.Source:Supplied

Late on Day 3, Bumrah relentlessly peppered England No. 11 James Anderson with a barrage of short-pitched bowling that bothered some cricket pundits.

Emotions boiled over in London as the Indian seamer repeatedly overstepped the popping crease and targeted the helpless tailender’s body.

Although the tactic is not uncommon in the Test arena, Bumrah’s aggression clearly infuriated the England camp. When he walked to the crease two days later, the objective for England’s bowlers was apparent to every spectator at Lord’s – revenge.

Root placed fielders on the boundary rope, instructing his bowlers to pitch the ball short and hunt for a top edge instead of targeting the stumps.

Bumrah absorbed several blows to the body and twice underwent a concussion test following knocks to the helmet; but importantly, the 27-year-old refused to give away his wicket.

Because England’s fielders were busy patrolling the outfield, Shami and Bumrah rotated the strike with ease and slowly pushed India’s total towards 250.

Root then dropped a tough chance at first slip, and Shami rubbed salt into the wounds by pummelling spinner Moeen Ali over the mid-wicket boundary.

An England victory was suddenly out of the question, and a bewildered Root returned to sheds at lunch scratching his head.

Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah combined for the largest ninth-wicket partnership at Lord’s in 15 years.Source:Supplied

“I think a lot falls on my shoulders as captain,” Root admitted after the loss.

“Tactically I don’t think I dealt with that well enough as captain, and off the back of it it put us in a difficult position.

“It’s just disappointing we didn’t manage to close out that innings how we could have.

“I don’t think there’s any hiding from it we do need to get better.

“We need to score heavier, but the guys all know that, they’re working extremely hard and there’s a lot cricket still to be played. A lot can happen within three games, we’ve found ourselves in positions like this before within series.”

Australian cricket great Shane Warne was less than impressed with England’s performance, criticising Root’s “horrific tactics” in the field.

“I thought it was a fantastic Test match and a fantastic advert for Test cricket,” Warne told SENZ Breakfast with Baz & Izzy.

“The England team turned up today thinking, ‘We’ll knock over (Rishabh) Pant, we’ll win this and chase down 180 or something.’

“And now they’re standing there scratching their heads saying, ‘What went wrong?’ and what went wrong was horrific tactics.

“They had five, six, seven fielders on the fence. The bowler is standing at the top of his mark looking around saying, ‘How am I going to get some of these guys out?’

“They got a bit too emotional, a bit too much short stuff and in the end the best team won at that was India.”

Joe Root and Ollie Robinson.Source:Supplied


Former England batter Sir Geoffrey Boycott also provided a scathing assessment of Root’s captaincy following the 151-run defeat.

“This Test match has proved two things. Firstly, if you are stupid you do not deserve to win Test matches. As much as we love Joe Root for his magnificent batting, he cocked up with his tactics. Secondly, England cannot keep relying on Joe for all their runs. There has to be an improvement from the top three very soon because it is getting beyond a joke,” he wrote in The Telegraph.

“Seeing Jasprit Bumrah at the crease was like a red rag to a bull. He encouraged Mark Wood to just pepper him with fast short balls. It is obvious the England captain and some of his players wanted payback for the working over Bumrah gave James Anderson in the first innings.

“Emotion got the better of England and common sense went out of the window. Captains are expected to keep a cool head even when fast bowlers lose theirs and get carried away with emotion and passion and get bouncer happy. But Root lost the plot.”

The third Test between England and India will get underway at Headingley on Wednesday, 25 August.

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