WELLINGTON (Reuters) – England’s bowlers will have learned a lot from their series defeat to New Zealand, particularly in terms of how to battle through adversity on flat wickets, which will stand them in good stead for the tour of South Africa, captain Joe Root has said.
The England attack were heavily criticized in media back home for their lack of penetration and inability to adapt to two relatively benign pitches at Bay Oval and Seddon Park, which led to a 1-0 series loss on Tuesday.
“We’ve now seen what it can be like if the surfaces do get like this with the Kookaburra ball,” Root told Britain’s Sky Sports. “We have to learn very quickly and take that forward into those four games.
“You’ve got to learn from the opposition as well.
“You look at someone like Neil Wagner – he’s got a big heart, a big engine, and keeps running.
“And that’s what you want, you want guys who, time and time again, want to be putting themselves in that position, to keep wanting to create chances and keep trying to change the game.”
New Zealand left-arm seamer Wagner was named man-of-the-series after he finished with 13 wickets, which included successive five-wicket hauls.
Root said the series would have been a shock to the system for England fast bowler Jofra Archer, who made an explosive entrance to test cricket during the Ashes series at home against Australia earlier this year.
The 24-year-old took 22 wickets at 20.27 in four matches during the Ashes. In New Zealand, he took only two wickets at 104.50 in his first experience of test cricket outside England.
“I think he’s found that test cricket is hard, and you’ve got to keep backing up those performances over and over again,” Root added.
“You can sometimes bowl extremely well and get no reward.
“He’s right at the start of his career, and … he’s still got a lot of learning to do.
“But he has to keep wanting to learn, and to stay nice and resilient mentally and physically as well, because these conditions can wear you down. I expect him to bounce back quite strongly from something like this, because he’s a fast learner.”
Root’s attack for the series in South Africa is likely to be bolstered by the return of spearhead James Anderson and Mark Wood, who are both training in Potchefstroom.
Jonny Bairstow should also be back after batsman Ollie Pope deputised for the injured Jos Buttler in the second test in Hamilton.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)