After the second Test of the series ended in a draw, England captain Joe Root defended his decision of declaring after a lead of 281 runs in the game. Root declared the innings when the play was stopped due to rain and lunch was taken on the final day of the Test. The first session ended with the visitors scoring 145 runs in 24.5 overs bowled, losing six wickets. With two sessions remaining, the hosts came out to bat with a target of 282 runs to be scored in 65 overs.
Root’s declaration meant that the England bowlers had to pick 10 wickets in the two sessions in order to have the result in their favor. The hosts lost three early wickets in the form of John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, and Nkrumah Bonner in the sixth, ninth and 13th over respectively. But skipper Kraigg Braithwaite’s half-century rescued his side from an anticipated collapse on the final day.
It was difficult for the hosts to chase down 282 in just two sessions, and thus, not taking any risks, they were looking to stay on the field for as long as possible so as to end the match in a draw. Though it was a difficult chase for the hosts, Root was not willing to provide the hosts with even a bit of a chance.
It’s just really pleasing to see us make a substantial first-innings total after long: Joe Root
“It’s always a tricky one isn’t it, trying to weigh that up. Just with how small this ground is and how strong the wind was, you don’t want to give too many overs. To look back in hindsight, could we have pulled out 10 overs earlier, would it have made much difference?” said Root in the post-match interview.
Even after a second draw in the series, the England skipper was impressed by his team’s performance. The third and final test will be a decider game between the two teams as both of them look to finishing off the series on a winning note.
“It’s just really pleasing to see us make a substantial first-innings total for the first time in a long time. Hopefully, the guys have gained a lot of confidence from it and we can replicate it again and again and again,” he concluded.