By Matt Smith
DUBAI (Reuters) – Joe Root admitted England’s batsmen were not good enough after the tourists lost the last seven wickets of their first innings for a paltry 36 runs on Saturday to all but hand the second test to Pakistan.
Having bowled out England for 242, Pakistan overcame a couple of early wobbles to saunter to 222 for three at the close on the third day in Dubai, 358 runs ahead and with seven wickets in hand.
“We have got to pitch up tomorrow and put in a better performance than today because we just weren’t good enough,” Root told reporters.
Paceman Wahab Riaz (4-66) and leg-spinner Yasir Shah (4-93) were England’s chief tormentors with the ball and veteran batsmen Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq reached the close unbeaten on 71 and 87 respectively.
“Fair play to Pakistan, they put us under a lot of pressure — they bowled very consistently, they got the ball to reverse at good speeds and we weren’t able to handle that,” said Root, whose dismissal for 88 sparked England’s morning collapse.
“The leg-spinner bowled with some good control, but if we’re being brutally honest there were a few shots in our dismissals we probably want to rethink.”
The first test in Abu Dhabi was drawn, so England have little chance of winning the three-test series and that could push the selectors to freshen up the side for the final test in Sharjah.
Joss Buttler could be most vulnerable to demotion. The wicketkeeper has scored 27 runs in three innings this series and has also been clumsy in the field.
Jonny Bairstow could take over the gloves and another batsman come in — perhaps opener Alex Hales — which would allow Moeen Ali to return to the middle order.
Yet Root was adamant that Buttler will come good.
“I think he will be disappointed after today, but he’s a fine player and I expect him to bounce back because that’s what great players do,” added Root.
“I can see him scoring many runs for England in the future.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)