Root has odds stacked against him but dream of England being No.1 is way off

Joe Root put on his bravest face and proceeded to take all the slings and arrows that come with a 10 wicket hammering.

After all his team had just been despatched inside two days, failed to score 200 runs in total in the match and needed to rely on the success of a part time spinner to, briefly, get themselves back in the game.

For all the inevitable reasons, excuses, mitigating circumstances, and creative accountancy that could be used to explain away the defeat there is an unavoidable truth.

India have utterly out-skilled and out-played England in both of the last two Test matches in their home conditions, just a matter of days after doing the same to Australia in theirs.

But for Root's batting excellence in the first Test, there wouldn't really be any argument over which is the better side.

England are now out of it and on current form India would be worthy adversaries for the Kiwis in the World Test Championship final.

Instead, Root must accept that their aim of being the best in the world one day is still a long, long way off.

The sight of the captain opening the bowling with his off-spin in the second innings after taking his career best 5-8 in the first, spoke volumes about the pitch and England's team selection. Both were crap.

On a dry and rapidly deteriorating surface, England were well short on the skill required to pick the right team for the pitch and the conditions.

They were short on the skill required to bat against the quality of bowling in those conditions with left arm spinner Axar Patel taking 11 wickets in the match.

And they were short on the quality of players required to play in those conditions with Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali at home watching on TV.

As captain Root has to ask why were his team so short on quality in so many areas and how is that going to change anytime soon?

This is one of the biggest series going in the game and yet England appear to have been happy to let it fall by the wayside.

“I'd be livid if I were Joe Root,” said Darren Gough after the defeat. “Absolutely livid.

“Eoin Morgan's getting all his players for a little T20 series in India and this is the bigger series and he hasn't got them.”

Root can also see that the odds are stacked against him when spin is treated with such disdain in the English game that if a pitch offers too much turn the home side is docked points.

Root added: “It is challenging, it’s been tough, and I think the pink ball beat a lot of us for pace rather than spin, but we’ve got to keep trying to find a way, keep looking to explore and experiment.

“Not be shy and look forward to the challenge of it, embrace the surroundings we’re in and see it as a way of developing as a player and open yourself up to new ideas.

“I look at county cricket and we need to play on better wickets that allows spinners to bowl and brings them into the game.

“And every now and again coming across a wicket like that will open people’s eyes and give them an experience.”

England have had their eyes well and truly opened and the experience was awful. It is time they learnt from it.

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