‘Root has stamped authority on England’

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Pint-sized TMS: England take control
Second Investec Test, Headingley, day four
England 258 & 490-8 dec: Moeen 84, Root 72, Malan 61, Woakes 61*
West Indies 427 & 5-0: Brathwaite 4*, Powell 1*
West Indies trail by 316 runs

England captain Joe Root stamped his authority on his team by declaring before the close of day four of the second Test against West Indies, says former player Graeme Swann.

Root declared with England on 490-8, setting West Indies an unlikely 322 to win and forcing the tourists to face six overs before the end of play.

Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell had reached 5-0 by the close.

“What a great, bold declaration – it’s so good in so many ways,” said Swann.

“Firstly, it’s the right thing to do, and secondly, he is trying to stamp his authority on the team.”

Root’s predecessors Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss were both criticised at times for declaring too late to force victory as opponents were able to bat out for a draw.

This is the 26-year-old’s second Test series in charge of England, following a 3-1 victory over South Africa this summer, since he replaced Cook as captain in February.

“Root knows the last two captains of England have been heavily criticised within the press for being too conservative,” said Swann.

“He has now made them complicit in his decision to declare because if England lose the game, the press will never give him any grief for batting longer again.”

‘England will win by tea’

Swann said the declaration makes England “firm favourites” to win on Tuesday and secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

“I thought the draw was the favourite result but now an England win is,” he said.

“West Indies need 317 more – it’s a lot of runs to score in a day and, if at any one point a partnership develops, then as a captain you can be defensive for half an hour or an hour, to pull yourself back in it.

“It will be a fifth-day pitch, a very worn wicket. It’s turning square so Moeen Ali is going to cause problems all day from one end and I foresee an England victory by tea.”

Half-century for Moeen gives England hope

Chris Woakes, who scored an unbeaten 61 to help Moeen Ali (84) set up the hosts’ push for victory, said the declaration was a “positive decision” by Root and the England management.

“We want to win the Test match,” said Woakes. “You have to make sure you have got enough runs but also enough time.

“It is a difficult balance but the skipper and the management have backed us to go out and think that we have enough runs.

“We will have to bowl well – there is hard work ahead.”

‘The match is far from over’

West Indies will have to pull off the 20th highest successful run chase in Test history to win, but hold the record for the highest fourth-innings total in victory, having made 418-7 to beat Australia in 2003.

Bowling coach Roddy Estwick said the match is “far from over” and his side “have to believe” they can win, having impressed in this match after a heavy defeat in the first Test at Edgbaston.

“Don’t write us off yet, we will be back and will come back fighting,” he said.

Estwick added the tourists did not “play the big moments well at all” on day four, having conceded runs quickly after tea as Moeen and Woakes made a century stand, despite England losing three wickets shortly before the interval.

“I have been impressed with the whole team, the attitude has been spot on,” he added.

“We are hoping once we leave England we are better for it and people will start hearing about West Indian cricket again.”

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