Joe Root © Getty Images
Joe Root © Getty Images

Leeds: Joe Root, who became the first England skipper to lose home Test against West Indies in 17 years, has admitted that he did not regret his decision to declare second innings on the fourth evening, despite the defeat. Chasing a target of 322 runs after England declared their second innings at 490-8, West Indies rode on the brilliant innings of Shai Hope (120*) and Kraigg Brathwaite (95) to register a stunning five-wicket victory over England. However, Root said that he would continue to take positive options in pursuit of victory in future.”In hindsight, it’s easy to say the declaration might not have been timed right, but I thought last night it was a positive thing to do. We’re a side that wants to go out there and win Test matches.”

“We got ourselves in a position where we can do that – but credit to the West Indies, they played really well today. They made it difficult to get on top of them, create much pressure against them,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root, as saying. Root also defended his aggressive field placing during much of the final day, when he kept his slips in place as West Indies closed in on the target.”I thought the best chance of slowing things down was to take wickets. As the game progressed, wickets were the best way of us getting the result. It would have been very easy to try and go 7-2 and go at two an over but I wanted to take the positive option and put them under pressure by taking wickets,” he added.

The England skipper trusted his senior attack of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who bowled more than half of the overs, while Ben Stokes was not introduced until the 48th over and only bowled five overs. After losing just two wickets, Hope and Brathwaite went on to share an invaluable 144-run stand for the third wicket, which will certainly go in the history books as one of the most memorable partnerships of all times. And Root admitted he might have done differently a second time around. He also accepted he could have bowled Stokes more than his five overs on the final day.

“Last night, we were in a position where we could win the game, it was a fifth-day wicket and maybe we slightly misread the surface. Looking at two guys who’ve taken nearly 900 Test wickets between them, and the other bowlers we have available, on a fifth-day pitch, I thought we had a great opportunity to win the game,” he said of Broad and Anderson. Root insisted that although there is need to take risk in Test cricket, they would try their best to put up better performances in the upcoming matches.

“You’ve got to take your chances in Test cricket. When you get to this level, if you give guys chances, they generally go on and hurt you. It’s been a strange Test match, there’s been so many catches go down. It’s not always the easiest viewing ground . But we have to be better,” he added.

With the win, West Indies levelled the three-match series 1-1. The final match will now be played at the iconic Lord’s from September 7.