Joe Root says illness no excuse for England display in first Test defeat to South Africa

Joe Root refused to use illness as an excuse for England’s defeat to South Africa in the first Test.

England failed to complete another mission impossible as they bowed out of 2019 with a 107-run loss in the series opener in Centurion.

England failed to recover from a first innings collapse

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England failed to recover from a first innings collapse

Root fell ill and was forced into quarantine as the game drifted further away from England on day three, with another nine squad members and four backroom staff suffering symptoms since arriving in Johannesburg a fortnight ago.

Three were ruled out of the Test entirely and others went in light on workload.

While the England captain conceded it been a hindrance to his side’s preparations, he insisted it was not the sole reason for the tourists’ limp performance.

“We’re not going to hide behind that as an excuse, but 14 of our squad have been taken ill in the last week and a half,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot thrown at us and everyone has dealt with it the best you can. It’s frustrating, but it’s happened.

“Hopefully the illness is through the camp and we can all be fighting fit in time for Cape Town.”

Stokes couldn’t repeat his Ashes miracle as England slipped to defeat

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Stokes couldn’t repeat his Ashes miracle as England slipped to defeat

England have asked Somerset pair Craig Overton and Dom Bess to stay on for the trip to Newlands, with both men initially called up as cover, and Bess, in particular, has a real chance of adding to his two caps.

Another potential selection debate involves decorated seam pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with some pundits suggesting the veteran duo should no longer play together despite sharing more than 1,000 Test wickets.

“If difficult decisions have to be made down the line then they will be, but if they don’t then they won’t,” said Root, equivocally.

“It would be silly to push fantastic experience and a wealth of knowledge of fast bowling out the door when there is no need to. You don’t want to wish those guys away or look back and think, ‘We’ve forced Jimmy Anderson out’. You look at him physically and he’s in fantastic fettle and he’s got a brilliant record in these conditions. Similar with Stuart.

“It’ s a fine balance, you’ve got to look at the surface and at an attack you feel is best going to counter that and best counter the opposition you come up against.”


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