YORKSHIRE’S Joe Root made no apologies for his side’s slow progress on day three of the fifth Investec Ashes Test.
With a 3-0 lead over Australia heading into the final match of the series and a sizeable total of 492 to respond to, there was little reason for England to take any undue risks at the Kia Oval and they responded with an ultra-conservative batting performance.
Having started on 32 without loss they crawled to 247-4 at stumps, with 98.3 largely defensive overs taking place in between.
Sections of the crowd were growing restless at times, and the tourists were beginning to get a little tetchy too if captain Michael Clarke’s verbals towards Kevin Pietersen were anything to go by.
But Root believes England managed the circumstances to the best of their ability.
“Obviously there’s some sort of responsibility (to entertain) or no one would come and watch, but it can’t happen every game,” said Root, who top-scored on the day with 68 in 184 balls.
“With the way they bowled at us and the condition of the pitch it has not been viable to score at a quick rate.
“We have to get the best possible outcome for England.
“People come and watch cricket for a number of reasons, but (the excitement level) is something we can’t always control. We need to play the situation.
“Fair credit to Australia, they bowled pretty well and made it hard for us to score fluently.”
The Yorkshire batsman, responding to a tangible sense of torpor, felt compelled to remind onlookers that England are in a handsome position in the series.
Indeed, while many paying punters may have preferred to see more risks from England, so too would an Australia side who have yet to beat their old rivals this summer.
“You always want to come out of a series with the best possible outcome, whether that be 4-0 or 3-0, that’s always the target,” said Root.
“If we can go away with 3-0 it will obviously stand us in good stead going to Australia (in the winter).
“We’re here to win a series and ideally win 4-0 or 5-0.
“But it can’t always happen like that.
“We’ve played some hard cricket, it’s not always easy to go out and score at four an over. Sometimes you have to accept that and play the situation as it is.”
Australia seamer Peter Siddle admitted he and his team-mates had indulged in some gentle sledging of their opponents over their go-slow tactics, but appeared far from aggrieved after the day’s play.
“I think we were just asking them what they were up to, if they were thinking about playing a few strokes and pushing the score along,” he said when queried about the on-field verbals.
“It was pretty tame really.
“It is disappointing, but obviously we started this game well and put the pressure right on them and so if they want to play that way we put ourselves in that position – so we can’t control that.
“All we can control is going out there (today) and trying to take these six wickets and see where we are later in the day.
“It is hard because as a bowling team you want to take wickets and have a chance to take wickets.”
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