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Root doesn't regret attacking despite Windies' triumph

 

By Chris Stocks

England captain Joe Root says he has no regrets over the attacking declaration that gave West Indies the chance to win their first Test match in the country for 17 years.

Root set the tourists 322 to win when he declared his side's second innings on 490 for eight on the second evening of this remarkable second Test in Leeds.

However, a magnificent unbeaten 118 from Shai Hope helped West Indies record a famous five-wicket win after they pulled off the second highest run-chase in Headingley history.

It means a side thrashed by an innings and 209 runs in the first match of the series at Edgbaston will go into next week's final Test at Lord's level at 1-1.

Root, though, was not prepared to question his decision to declare, insisting: "It's nice to look back in hindsight and see how things could have gone. If we're being honest, we weren't good enough first up with the bat and we need to make sure we learn those lessons and turn up at Lord's to make sure we're at it to win the series.

"That second innings we batted was a great effort from our team. The declaration was a positive thing to do, we want to win Test matches, when you get the opportunity to try and win you take it."

Despite his disappointment, Root added: "It was a great Test for everyone watching, if not great to be on the losing side.

"Hope played brilliantly on a fifth-day wicket against a high-quality attack but credit to the whole Windies side for the way they bounced back. I am pleased with our character but, if we're being brutally honest, we lost this game with the bat in the first innings by not getting 300."

For the West Indies, this result, was a remarkable one after their hammering at Edgbaston.

Stuart Law, their Australian coach, said: "It was a great effort from the support staff and players to get back on track. I am so proud of our guys who have put a lot of doubters to bed.

"I always believed that these guys could play - some people didn't -and they showed it in this game.

"It takes a lot of character to come back after the beating we had been given at Edgbaston and beat the same team in seam and swing-friendly conditions."

Match-winner Hope, who became the first man to score hundreds in each innings of a Headingley Test, added: "I am elated. We have worked really hard as a team to get over the line.

"I never doubted my ability - I made my way to Test level and always believed in myself. My aim is to kick on and improve."

Law was a proud West Indies coach after watching his side bounce back from their Edgbaston nightmare.

Law added: "What a five days. After getting the kicking we did at Edgbaston, to get the boys back up to achieve what they've done these last five days, it's a great effort - not just by the players themselves but all the support staff.

"I'm very proud of them, and of the two young guys who scored the runs."

Unsurprisingly, Hope took the bulk of the plaudits after his historic feat.

Law continued: "I said if he gets one (hundred), he'll get plenty - well, he got one and he's got another.

"He's been going through the form dip but he's looked in good nick. Hopefully now the pretty 20s are gone and the pretty 120s are here to stay."

On Carlos Brathwaite, Law added: "He's not the most fashionable-looking cricketer in the world but he gets the job done and he's one of my first picks every game.

"(He's got) plenty of courage, plenty of character and plenty of determination, and he played really well."

 

Scoreboard

Second Test Match

Headingley Carnegie

England 258

B A Stokes 100

J E Root 59

S T Gabriel 4-51

K A J Roach 4-7) & 490-8 dec (M M) Ali 84

J E Root 72

C R Woakes 61 no

D J Malan 61

B A Stokes 58

M D Stoneman 52

v West Indies 427

S D Hope 147

K C Brathwaite 134

J M Anderson 5-76) & 322-5 (S D Hope 118 no, K C Brathwaite 95)

West Indies beat England by 5 wkts

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