Root says ‘sky is the limit’ as England seal series win

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – England captain Joe Root believes “the sky is the limit” for his team as the tourists completed a 3-1 series victory with a 191-run win in the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday.

Root hailed a “very special” triumph in a series in which England had to overcome several adversities. They were struck by illness at the beginning of the tour, lost the first Test and were hit by injuries.

Jack Leach, selected as their number one spinner, went home without playing a game because of illness, opening batsman Rory Burns was injured after the first Test and fast bowlers Jofra Archer and James Anderson suffered injuries in the first and second Tests which put them out of the series.

“If you look at where we were after that first game, to pick ourselves up and play the way we have in the last three games is really pleasing,” said Root. “It has taken a big effort from everyone and it was very much a squad effort.”

Root praised the way young players had stepped up and taken their opportunities. “I do think we are at the start of something,” he said.

“We’ve got to keep looking to learn and keep getting better but it’s been a fantastic tour for us as a Test team. It’s been a real squad effort with a number of guys who are at the start of their international careers.”

“I think the sky is the limit for us right now,” he added.

England encountered some stiff resistance from South Africa on Monday before winning with a day to spare. Set to make a world record 466 to win, South Africa reached 181 for two shortly before tea on a hot afternoon before man of the series Ben Stokes and man of the match Mark Wood combined for a double strike, dismissing South African captain Faf du Plessis for 35 and Rassie van der Dussen for 98. The pair had shared a partnership of 92.

Captain Joe Root holds the Basil D’Olivera Test series trophy with the England cricket team. PHOTO: AFP