Root praises youngsters as England thrash Proteas - RTHK
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Root praises youngsters as England thrash Proteas

2020-01-21 HKT 02:40
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  • Root said Pope and Bess made "massive contributions". Photo: AFP
    Root said Pope and Bess made "massive contributions". Photo: AFP
England captain Joe Root hailed a complete performance by his team after they beat South Africa by an innings and 53 runs in the third Test at St George's Park, taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

"It was a brilliant template for us moving forward as a team," said Root. "Big first innings runs and then we really drove the game from that point forward."

Root said the solid start by young opening batsmen Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid the foundation for a double century partnership by Ben Stokes (120) and man-of-the-match Ollie Pope which enabled England to make 499 for 9 declared, before bowling out South Africa for 209 and 237.

Root said Pope, who was 135 not out for his maiden Test hundred, and fellow 22-year-old off-spinner Dom Bess, who took the first five wickets in the first innings, had made "massive contributions".

"It's exactly what we are after in terms of our development as a team moving forward. It fills the whole group with a massive amount of confidence."

Root said England, who lost a two-Test series to New Zealand before Christmas, were not yet the finished article. "But we're heading in the right direction. We've got a group of players who are willing to learn and we're very clear on how we want to play."

England were held up by a last wicket stand of 99 between Keshav Maharaj (71) and Dane Paterson (39 not out) and it needed a direct-hit run-out by Sam Curran from mid-on to clinch the result shortly before lunch after South Africa added 135 runs in losing their last four wickets.

The partnership between Maharaj and Paterson was easily South Africa's best of the match and showed up an otherwise poor batting performance by the hosts. (AFP)