England in West Indies: Joe Root will not 'hide behind' excuses

Joe Root and Roston Chase
Joe Root congratulates Roston Chase, who took 8-60 and scored a first-innings half-century

Preparation and selection were not the reasons for England's 381-run defeat by West Indies in the first Test in Barbados, says captain Joe Root.

The tourists did not play a first-class game before the Test, omitted pace bowler Stuart Broad and were bowled out for 77 in their first innings.

"The first innings is where we lost it and that has nothing to do with selections of the bowlers," said Root.

On preparation, he added: "It is not a reason for a performance like that."

England were bowled out for 246 as West Indies completed victory on the fourth evening thanks to a Test-best 8-60 from part-time off-spinner Roston Chase.

England drew two two-day practice games in Barbados, neither of which had first-class status.

They batted and bowled for a day in each, regardless of how many wickets were lost.

Their build-up was similar for the tour of New Zealand last year, a series they lost 1-0, and in Sri Lanka before Christmas, when they won 3-0.

Conversely, England played two first-class matches before last winter's Ashes and were subsequently beaten 4-0 by Australia.

"Blaming preparation is an excuse," Root, 28, told the BBC Test Match Special podcast.

"We've had good tours and bad tours, started series well and not.

"The guys worked extremely hard over those four days and we got as much out of them as possible. They did everything they could to be ready.

"We came into this game well prepared. Guys were ready to go and it is disappointing that we didn't perform to our potential. I'm not going to hide behind an excuse like that."

England players 'know how to prepare'

England rejected the offer to play a first-class match before the Test, although coach Trevor Bayliss said after defeat at the Kensington Oval that he would like to do so before every Test series.

Asked if it should be mandatory for touring teams to play at least one first-class warm-up game, Root said: "In a perfect world, maybe, but the amount of cricket that there is, it is very difficult to do that.

"A lot of the guys are very experienced. They know what they need to do to prepare.

"We have a number of guys that have played in these conditions before. That knowledge is passed around the dressing room.

"I don't think that has had an impact on this result."

'We didn't lose because of selection'

Broad has taken 433 wickets in 124 Tests but was left out in Barbados as England opted for the left-arm swing of Sam Curran to join James Anderson and Ben Stokes in their pace attack, along with spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

It transpired that the tall Broad would have been suited to bowling on the occasionally uneven surface, even if England were ultimately undone by their first-innings collapse.

Root, who made four in the first innings and 22 in the second, said: "It was a very difficult pitch to read. In hindsight, we might have got things slightly wrong, but that doesn't defend the performance.

"The first innings is where we lost it and that has nothing to do with selections of the bowlers.

"Ultimately, the guys had the responsibility to go out there and perform and we were below-par, but that doesn't make us a bad side."

The second Test in the three-match series begins on Thursday in Antigua.

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