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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower