Joe Root hailed for bravery and determination as England attempted to salvage a draw, but was in vein

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Modified Dec 20, 2021 11:25 AM IST

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Joe Root was hailed for his bravery and determination in leading England’s attempts to salvage a draw from the second Ashes Test, but bowling coach Jon Lewis admitted his last-gasp dismissal was a huge setback. Captain Root had a horrendous day on duty in Adelaide starting with a trip to a local hospital after taking a blow to the groin during the warm-ups and ending when he nicked the final delivery of the day to leave Australia in complete control. With the tourists on 82 for 4 and 386 behind, there seems no way out but Ben Stokes’ presence at the crease at least conjures happier memories of implausible rescue missions.

Australia vs England, 2nd Ashes Test Live Score: Australia eye early England  wrap-up for win on Day 5 - The Times of India : 67.2 : England : 135/6
Credits: Times Of India

Root’s pride will not be the only thing that is bruised, with his late dismissal coming shortly after he was clattered in the box at 85mph by Mitchell Starc, aggravating his earlier injury in the worst way imaginable and leaving him doubled in agony for several minutes. It was a darkly comic chain of events given the importance of this series to Root’s captaincy and Lewis was full of admiration for the way he committed to facing down the pace and hostility of Starc despite his clear physical discomfort. “There was no doubt in Joe’s mind that he was batting, he’s the captain of England,” said Lewis.

“He wanted to go out there to bat, to show people what a great player he is and what a great leader. It’s painful, he was hit there this morning, had to go off to hospital for a scan, and wasn’t in great shape. “But Joe’s a strong leader, he showed a hell of a lot of character to get out there and fight because I know he was pretty sore. When he was hit again he could easily have walked off and had a nightwatchman come in. England looks likely to head to the third Ashes Test 2-0 down after a painful day in more ways than one for captain Joe Root

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England need Ashes miracle after painful day for Joe Root

The touring skipper suffered two nasty blows to the groin area before a devastating dismissal late on day four at the Adelaide Oval continuing his bitter experiences of Ashes cricket in Australia. Root nicked Mitchell Starc in the final act of Sunday’s play, crushing England’s hopes of building a huge defensive rearguard around their leader and star batter. They ended on 82 for four, 385 adrift, and with three full sessions awaiting on a deteriorating pitch. Root had suffered a traumatic day even before his dismissal, sent for precautionary scans after being struck in his unprotected nether regions while facing throwdowns in the warm-ups and then suffering a brutal repeat deep in the final session. The ball came out to be destruction for the England side.

Live match blog - Australia vs England 2nd Test 2021/22 - Cricket Insights  | ESPNcricinfo.com
Credits: ESPNCricinfo

He was struck clean on the box at 85mph, buckling in pain and taking five minutes out before his ill-fated attempt to see out the day. It is hard to tell if the well-known England supporters’ club was referring to the match situation or the captain’s misfortune with this one-word post, but it fits just as well for both. “But to stay out there? That’s the character of the man and what it means to him to be England captain. He wants to show how hard he wants to fight, and how hard he’s prepared to fight to get back into the game.”

Amid those warm words, there was room for regret too, with the realization that his late outside edge just four balls before stumps could have settled the result. “Any time one of your best players gets out, the team takes a bit of a knock. It’s a big, big ask but we will put the effort in and fight,” said Lewis.