England in New Zealand: Joe Root ‘proud’ despite Test series defeat

Joe Root

Joe Root made 226 – his first double hundred as England captain – in the second Test against New Zealand

Captain Joe Root says he is proud of the way England “learned lessons quickly” in their Test series defeat in New Zealand.

Beaten by an innings and 65 runs in the first Test, England established a first-innings lead of 101 before the second Test in Hamilton was drawn.

Root made 226 and opener Rory Burns 101 in England’s 476.

“I feel like we’re a more rounded team for being out here,” Root, 28, told BBC Test Match Special.

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England, under new coach Chris Silverwood, collapsed from 277-4 to 353 all out in the first innings and were bowled out for 197 in the second at Mount Maunganui.

At Seddon Park, they batted for 162.5 overs as they passed 400 in the first innings for the first time since 2017.

Centuries for Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, and rain on the final afternoon, ensured a draw that gave New Zealand a 1-0 series win.

Root said: “We got ourselves in a position in that first game where we could have gone on and put them under huge amounts of pressure, made a big first-innings score just like we did this week.

“It could have looked very different. But one thing I’m really proud of is the way we learned the lessons quickly from that.”

England took only 21 wickets in the series, although the pitches offered the bowlers little assistance.

They end the year without a Test series victory for the first time since 1999, and have won only two of their past 11 away series.

They next travel to South Africa for a four-Test series which begins on 26 December.

“We are a side that wants to learn quite quickly and wants to become quite resilient in these conditions,” Root said.

“We want to become a much harder side to beat, first and foremost, and then go on and win games when it does get flat and hard.

“Similarly, we want to go and make really big totals and put sides under pressure.”

New Zealand, who are second in the International Cricket Council Test rankings, have not lost any of their past seven series.

“We know how strong the England side are and the balance they have in the team,” captain Williamson said.

“It was a great fighting effort, the amount of tight series we’ve had. The guys involved always want another game or two. It’s been great cricket to be a part of.”

New Zealand face Australia in a three-Test series starting on 12 December.