Series lost, but England have plenty to play for in St Lucia, says Joe Root

Written by Vishwas Gupta

The Windies may have secured the three-Test series 2-0, dominating England en route, but Joe Root said his team still had much at stake in the final Test in St Lucia, starting on Saturday, 9 February, especially with the Ashes fast approaching.

“There is plenty to play for in this game, especially off the back of our two previous performances,” the England captain said on Friday. “There is an Ashes around the corner and it is an opportunity for those guys to show how good they are and put their hand up and put in some proper performances.”

Despite a poor performance in the Caribbean, the season wasn’t all bad for England. They secured a thrilling 4-1 win against India at home, and followed it up with a fine 3-0 win in Sri Lanka. “We came away this winter trying to do things differently and find ways of winning away from home,” Root told BBC Sport.

“We had great success in Sri Lanka, and it’s not quite materialised here. Whether that be down to selection or how poorly we’ve played in parts, you have to see it for what it is and how you can best move that forward.”

England have named paceman Mark Wood, who last featured in a Test in May 2018, in the 12-member squad for the final Test after he impressed for England Lions against Pakistan. Wood will likely replace Sam Curran, the 20-year-old all-rounder.

“He (Wood) has gone away with the Lions, performed and worked his way back in the squad and he looks in great rhythm,” said Root. “He is bowling with good pace and he has developed his game as well.

“That is exactly what you want from guys when they have been left out, to come back better players. He has not taken the wickets he would have liked when he has had previous opportunities, but look at him now – he couldn’t be in a better place to go on and do something really good.”

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Vishwas Gupta