England captain Joe Root is under no illusions about his batting slump and recognises if his side is going to win the second match in Hamilton and level the two-Test series against New Zealand then he needs to make a substantial contribution.
England was bowled out for 353 and then 197 with Root contributing scores of two and 11 at Bay Oval, his worst return in a test since he took over the captaincy in early 2017, and fifth-worst in his entire 87-match career.
“I’m not far away,” Root told British media in Hamilton on Thursday of his form. “I played two horrendous shots in the last game (but) the fact I’m getting myself out, you can deal with that.”
The worrying thing for Root and new coach Chris Silverwood, who will leave the tour on Saturday after a family bereavement, is that Root has been on a downward track since he succeeded Alastair Cook as skipper almost three years ago.
The 28-year-old has long been considered one of the premiere batsmen in world cricket and often bracketed with India’s Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson as a ‘big-four’.
His double failure at Bay Oval, however, saw him drop outside the top-10 in the ICC rankings of Test batsmen for the first time in more than five years.
It also saw his batting average drop below 40 as captain to 39.70, with his career average now 47.35.