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Joe Root praises strength of England squad after series win in South Africa

England wrapped up a 3-1 Test series victory with a 91-run win in Johannesburg on Monday.

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Joe Root hailed England’s all-round team contribution at The Wanderers (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Joe Root hailed England’s all-round team contribution at The Wanderers (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Joe Root hailed England’s all-round team contribution at The Wanderers (Themba Hadebe/AP)

England captain Joe Root hailed the all-round contribution of his squad after they completed a 3-1 Test series victory over South Africa in Johannesburg.

After being frustrated for more than 30 overs by a 92-run partnership between Faf Du Plessis and Rassie Van Der Dussen, Root’s side quickly wrapped up victory after making the breakthrough.

The home side slipped from 181 for two to 274 all out to hand England a 91-run victory with man-of-the-match Mark Wood taking four for 54 to complete match figures of nine for 100.

Root told Sky Sports Cricket: “We’re very satisfied with the victory. I’m very proud of the boys. It’s taken a big effort from everyone. It’s very much been a squad effort as well and we’ve had some wonderful support too throughout the whole trip.

“It’s very exciting. There’s a number of guys that have performed that played in this game, but not just that. Guys like Jofra (Archer) at the start of the series with a five-for, Dom Bess as well making a big contribution.

“It’s been a real squad effort from a number of guys that are very much at the start of their international careers and that’s a very promising sign when you put that against some very experienced players.”

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Zak Crawley struck 66 in the first innings (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Zak Crawley struck 66 in the first innings (Themba Hadebe/AP)

AP/PA Images

Zak Crawley struck 66 in the first innings (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Root was delighted to see players step up and take their chance when given the opportunity with the likes of Rory Burns and James Anderson ruled out through injury early in the series.

Zak Crawley took advantage of the opportunity afforded to him by Burns’ ankle injury with a maiden Test half-century that laid the foundations for England’s first-innings 400 at the Wanderers.

Wood made an eye-catching return to Test cricket with 12 wickets in two Tests to help fill the gap left by Anderson’s rib problem.

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Mark Wood’s pace proved to be a valuable weapon for England (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Mark Wood’s pace proved to be a valuable weapon for England (Themba Hadebe/AP)

AP/PA Images

Mark Wood’s pace proved to be a valuable weapon for England (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Root added: “When that happens it provides guys with opportunities for them to take and that’s exactly what’s happened on this trip.

“That’s really pleasing and I think the sky’s the limit for this group. I do think we’re very much at the start of something and we’ve got to keep looking to learn, keep looking to get better and not think we’re somewhere we’re not.

“It’s been a fantastic tour for our development as a Test team and we hope that can continue moving forward this winter.”

Wood was grateful for the chance to play after being unsure whether he would be selected an hour before the start following a short turnout from the third Test in Port Elizabeth, with England looking to manage his return to the international arena.

Wood said: “There was a bit of doubt going into the game but boy am I glad I played now! I’m over the moon.

“I’ve had a lot of dark days. Credit has to go to the backroom staff. The physio Craigy (Craig De Weymarn) patched me up pretty good.

“Everybody’s been pretty supportive, my team-mates, the crowd. (England coach) Chris Silverwood tries to get get me out there just to have fun and that’s what I tried to do this game.”

Man-of-the-series Ben Stokes hopes his performances made his father proud as he recovers from illness in hospital.

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Ben Stokes’ 318 runs, 10 wickets and 12 catches earned him the man-of-the-series award (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Ben Stokes’ 318 runs, 10 wickets and 12 catches earned him the man-of-the-series award (Themba Hadebe/AP)

AP/PA Images

Ben Stokes’ 318 runs, 10 wickets and 12 catches earned him the man-of-the-series award (Themba Hadebe/AP)

Stokes said: “The most important thing here is that we’re walking away with a series win. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster with everything that’s gone on.

“I hope my old man’s been watching this in his hospital bed with a smile on his face.

“I just think I really enjoy the competition that South Africa always brings.”

PA