The Black Caps dislodged India as the world’s No 1 Test side as a result of their eight-wicket win at Edgbaston, a lofty position that England can only hope to occupy in their present state.
They were second best in the draw at Lord’s and were rounded up in timid fashion in the first hour of day four to suffer their first series setback on home soil since Sri Lanka turned them over 1-0 in 2014.
Weak batting was the obvious cause, with the game effectively settled inside the 27 overs of England’s second innings. By that point the entire top seven had been sent packing by the tourists for a grand total of 76 runs.
It took a tail-end fightback from Mark Wood and Olly Stone to make New Zealand return to crease to complete a paltry chase of 38. In all, there were just 11 overs of action on Sunday, with England 122 all out after Stone was last man out to very first ball of the day.
While Root can console himself with a career average of 48.68, the likes of Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence all have big question marks against their names.
Despite that the captain suggested belief in the squad was important rather than drastic changes for the India series.
“We have all underperformed this week. It would be the wrong time to start panicking and rip up all the hard work we have done for such a long period of time,” he said.
“Historically we done that going into major tournaments and going into major series and it’s made things even worse. Ultimately it’s about getting this group, taking what has happened this week and making them better going forward, making them more resilient. It’s been a frustrating and disappointing performance and I don’t think we’ve given a fair account of ourselves.
“We’ve been outplayed in all three departments and particularly the batting. We have to be honest, front up to that and learn some hard lessons.”