England bat out dreary New Zealand draw in chase of 273 with Joe Root forced to defend tactics after legends hit out

JOE ROOT defended his tactics after Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan criticised England’s failure to go for a win.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson declared at lunch on day five of the First Test and set England 273 in 75 overs.

Joe Root was forced to defend his tactics after criticismCredit: Getty

It might have sounded enticing – but England showed not the slightest interest in trying to score the runs.

With Dom Sibley scoring 60 not out from 207 deliveries, England were 170-3 when the players shook hands with five overs unused.

Ex-captains turned TV pundits Hussain and Vaughan were among those who thought England should at least have made a token victory effort.

Hussain said: “I don’t think showing no intent whatsoever for 70 overs was good enough and the fans deserved better.”

Vaughan tweeted: “No World Test championship points on offer for this series…A young batting line up with all in front of them…surely the energy should be to be more pro active to try and chase this total!”

But Root insisted: “We set out to try to lay a foundation and hopefully weigh things up and go from there. But, unfortunately, it didn’t materialise in the way we’d have liked.

“The pitch was quite tricky and it would have been easy to open the door for New Zealand.”

Having been dominated by the Kiwis, Root and his men were happy to escape with a draw. Don’t forget, England lost their last three Tests in the winter.

No World Test championship points on offer for this series … A young batting line up with all in front of them … surely the energy should be to be more pro active to try and chase this total … !!!! #ENGvNZ

— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) June 6, 2021

Dom Sibley gets back to his crease as BJ Watling takes off the stumps

Dom Sibley gets back to his crease as BJ Watling takes off the stumpsCredit: AFP

Neil Wagner celebrates taking the wicket of Joe Root

Neil Wagner celebrates taking the wicket of Joe RootCredit: Getty

England’s order is inexperienced and, in the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, lacks its usual power.

In Sibley, they found the ideal man to block happily away without worrying about entertaining the crowd.

Sibley is one of the world’s most boring batsmen and this was him on a watchful day!

The Warwickshire opener did the job his team wanted and 60 not out is a big improvement on the six single-figure scores in his previous six innings.

After day three was washed out and the disgraceful over rates deprived spectators of 21 overs during the game, the game duly petered out to a draw.

The three men out were Burns, who was sharply held at second slip by Tim Southee after a Neil Wagner outswinger found his edge.

Then Zak Crawley skewed a catch to gully and was dismissed for two by Southee for the second time in the match.

Crawley has looked particularly short of form and confidence in this match and, since his 267 against Pakistan in Southampton last August, has managed just 106 runs in ten innings of which 53 came in one knock.

Root was lbw before Sibley and Ollie Pope batted out time.

Joe Root leaves the pitch after he is bowled by lbw

Joe Root leaves the pitch after he is bowled by lbwCredit: AP

Earlier, Ollie Robinson collected his third wicket of New Zealand’s second innings – and seventh of his debut – when nightwatchman Wagner top-edged an attempted heave and wicketkeeper James Bracey pouched the catch.

Stuart Broad then had opener Tom Latham lbw – his first Test wicket for 81 overs since dismissing Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews on January 14.

Veteran Ross Taylor gave a clue to Williamson’s intentions by swinging hard at many deliveries. He connected with a big six over mid-wicket and also cleared the boundary with a top-edge that flew over the slip fielders.

Taylor edged a catch behind off Mark Wood and left-hander Henry Nicholls was caught by a diving Burns at slip as he attempted a reverse sweep.

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