Root defends England's boring batting

Australia

England batsman Joe Root defended his team's snail-like approach to batting on day three of the fifth Ashes Test, saying that while fans deserved some reward for their gate fees, the players had to do what the game required.

England batsman Joe Root defended his team's snail-like approach to batting on day three of the fifth Ashes Test, saying that while fans deserved some reward for their gate fees, the players had to do what the game required.

England reached stumps on day three on 247 for four, going at little more than two to the over, seemingly making no effort to chase Australia's first innings score of 492/9 declared. They appeared happy to settle for a draw, having already won the series.

At the close, Ian Bell was on 29 off 110 balls, while Root had made 68 off 184 balls before being dismissed. All the England batsmen had strike rates below 38, and this prompted annoyed responses from both fans and pundits.

But Root said: "People come to watch cricket for a number of reasons but that's something we can't always control. Obviously there's some sort of responsibility otherwise no one would come and watch. But it can't happen every game. We need to play the situation.

"Fair credit to Australia, they made it very hard for us to score fluently. The pitch is quite slow and quite hard to time the ball on, and you've seen throughout the summer people like Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen who generally score fluently, it's not always that easy.

"We've played pretty well to get to where we have."

The Yorkshire batsman then indicated that England were happy with the three-nil series margin, having won the Ashes for a third time in a row, and were now starting to look ahead to the return leg at the end of the year.

Root added: "You want to win by as big a margin as possible. If we can go away with 3-0, that's obviously going to stand us in good stead going to Australia. You always want to stay in front of the game if possible, but if not you want to find a way of fighting back into it."

Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle said the Aussie players weren't really upset about the way England chose to bat, saying it was up to the bowlers to get the wickets and they hadn't been able to do so.

He also said the much-reported spat between Kevin Pietersen and Michael Clarke had been blown out of proportion, and that the Oz players were making polite enquiries as to whether England were going to pick up the pace.

Siddle said: "As a bowling team you want to take wickets but we did bowl well and build a lot of pressure; it's just unfortunate we couldn't get those breakthroughs.

"They might have played defensively. If they want to play that way they can. We've put ourselves in this position [3-0 down], so we can't control it.

"All we can control is getting wickets six wickets and see where the match ends up. We were just asking them what they were up to, if they were thinking of playing a few strokes or push the runs along. It was pretty tame really."

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