Ashes 2013: Joe Root admits that if all teams scored slowly ‘no-one would watch’

 

The Kia Oval

England grudgingly conceded last night that they had an obligation to the paying spectator. Such a notion looked as though it had never entered their collective psyches as they spent the third day of the fifth Test tootling along at barely two runs an over.

They were like the Sunday driver content only to survey the sights without giving a hoot for the general progress of traffic. The second session was especially dire, largely featuring two of their most attractive batsmen, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen yet bringing only 84 runs in 38 overs.

Joe Root, the opener who contributed 68 from 184 balls, agreed that the public wanted to see runs scored. “Obviously there is some sort of responsibility, otherwise no-one would come and watch,” he said. “It can’t happen every game. Unfortunately the way they bowled at us and the condition of the pitch stopped us from scoring at a quick rate. You just have to play the situation and get the best possible outcome for England.”

It was rarely pretty throughout the 98.3 overs that were bowled for 215 runs and often it was considerably ugly. Proceedings only perked up when Michael Clarke, the tourists’ captain, and Kevin Pietersen, the home side’s most prodigious batsman, swapped views late in the afternoon, a popularity contest if ever there was one.

Peter Siddle, the Australia quick who has so far bowled 21 tireless overs in the innings without reward, said: “We were just asking 0if they were thinking of playing a few strokes. It was pretty tame really.”

That might have been so, but it seemed odd to be doing it 30 yards apart. To put a stop to the antics, umpire Aleem Dar walked up the pitch to have a word with Clarke at first slip. Considering how turgid it all was he was being a bit of a spoil sport.

“The teams are going along fine,” said Siddle. “It has been a tough, long, hard tour. It gets harder when you’re trying to get the breakthrough and there’s not a lot happening from the batting side. We just stuck to our guns today, it was a good day’s Test match cricket from us.”

For England it was a grim, if largely effective day at the office, though they still need 46 runs to avoid the follow-on. With the pitch yet to show any signs of wear or life, this should be easily attainable.

Root said: “People come and watch cricket for a number of reasons. It’s not something we can always control and we need to play the situation. Credit to Australia, they bowled pretty well at us and made it hard to score. We have seen that throughout the summer. It’s not always that easy.” Of course, he was not saying if it was England who asked for this kind of pitch in the first place, which might place the argument in a different perspective.

Meanwhile, former Australia captain Ian Chappell has accused coach Darren Lehmann of hypocrisy after he labelled Stuart Broad a “cheat” for his failure to walk during the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

But Chappell – who captained his country from 1971-75 – believes Australians are in no position to complain about opponents who don’t walk given their track record over the years. “I don’t like to be called a cheat and basically he is calling all people who don’t walk a cheat, which would include himself,” Chappell said.

“‘Cheat’ is not a word you should use very light-heartedly, and even if you are being light-hearted that’s a word you should steer away from. And even when you’ve got your tongue in your cheek it’s pretty hypocritical for an Australian to complain about somebody not walking.”

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week