Saturday 20 April, 2019

Root: St Lucia victory a step forward for England

England captain Joe Root.

England captain Joe Root.

Winning the third Test and avoiding a whitewash against West Indies represented a "step forward" for England, according to captain Joe Root.

England were comfortably beaten by 381 runs in the first match of the series before a hapless display in Antigua saw the tourists go down by 10 wickets.

In St Lucia, a 125-run first-innings stand from Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes was followed by a stunning five-for from Mark Wood, before Root's century set the Windies a hefty target of 485 for a whitewash.

Roston Chase made a gritty hundred to keep their hopes alive, but he received minimal support as the hosts went down by 232 runs on Tuesday.

Windies captain Jason Holder was suspended for the final match and had no doubt that, despite claiming a 2-1 series victory, the team can get better.

"It was disappointing the way we played in the last Test but there are still a few positives to write home about. Credit to the boys - although we lost this match we played a pretty good series. We still have a lot of improvements to make but lots of positive coming out of the series," said Holder.

"We have to keep improving in all three facets of the game - we've got to be clinical and be a lot more consistent than we have been in the past.

"Credit to our bowling unit, I think our bowlers have been outstanding and we just need our batters to come to the party more often than not.

"[The win is] important in a few contexts. It counts in the ICC rankings, counts for the morale of the side as well.

"We need to continue to build and improve as a side, not just rest on our laurels and think we've achieved something. We're still pretty low in the rankings and our goal is to be number one in the world, so there's definitely a lot to improve on and put right and a lot of positives we need to keep within in the team."

"It was important we played well this week. It should be a real confidence-booster going into an exciting summer for us," said Root.

"West Indies deserved to win the series, they outplayed us in the first two games, but it's a real step forward for this team to perform like we did this week.

"I thought we played some good cricket. In that first innings we managed to find a way to ride out some difficult moments in bowler-friendly conditions and then we got up to a good score. Then the bowlers got us on top and we went from there.

"We played better, that's important, we've got a fantastic squad, but over the next couple of years you'll see a huge amount of improvement."

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