Joe Root captaincy hanging by a thread with England on the brink of series defeat to the West Indies

JOE ROOT’S job as captain is hanging by a thread as England plunged to the brink of defeat in the Caribbean.

And former skipper Michael Vaughan – Root’s mentor – led the calls for him to stand down.

Joe Root’s captaincy is at risk after a poor display against the West IndiesCredit: AFP

England finished day three of the deciding Third Test with 103-8 in their second innings, just ten runs ahead and certain to lose the series 0-1.

Vaughan said on BT Sport: “I can see an England captain who looks a bit drained. If he feels that way, it’s best if he is just a batter because he’ll continue to score a lot of runs.

“He looks frazzled and tired and I think this could be his final Test match as captain – I’ve been in that position. You wake up one day and think, ‘I’ve had enough.’”

England produced a performance that even by their standards was almost unbelievably shocking and pathetic.

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On day three of the Third Test, every aspect of their game was nothing short of useless. Bowling, tactics, batting, running and effort – they were rubbish at the lot.

It means England are certain to lose the series in the Caribbean after the first two Tests were drawn. It will be their fifth straight series defeat.

Root must surely quit or, if he refuses to fall on his sword, then the new team director, who will be appointed later this month, should ask him to stand down.

The team have stopped fighting for their leader. It was obvious during the Ashes and it has become even more obvious now.

Ex-skipper Vaughan summed it up: “The resilience in this England team is non-existent.

“When you continually see England collapse and show no fight, spirit or togetherness…I hear all the time that England are tight and have a good spirit. No they haven’t. Spirit happens on the pitch, it doesn’t happen by the pool.

“You fight and don’t gift the opposition an easy win. To see the England team capitulate without any spirit or fight, I’m afraid there are big questions to ask.”

England were puerile in the field and then produced another calamitous batting collapse.

West Indies dominated against England, who struggled throughout the match

West Indies dominated against England, who struggled throughout the matchCredit: AFP

The Windies showed skill, determination and nous to eke out a first innings lead of 93 – thanks mainly to a maiden Test century by wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva – and then England plummeted to 103-8 by the close. They lead by just ten runs.

England’s batsmen crumbled under pressure on a pitch that offered some uneven bounce but no real demons.

Root himself was out for just two following his duck in the first innings – and again he fell to the gentle medium-pace bowling of Kyle Mayers.

Root decided to remain in charge after England’s 4-0 thrashing in the Ashes and was party to the decision to dump Stuart Broad and James Anderson for this tour – perhaps to try to increase his authority around the squad.

But the experienced duo have been badly missed and, although Root scored centuries in each of the first two Tests, his leadership has again lacked spark.

After a miserable morning on day three during which they allowed the Windies’ tail to add more precious runs, England’s second innings followed a predictable path.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has called for Joe Root to stand down

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has called for Joe Root to stand downCredit: Reuters

Opener Zak Crawley was caught in the slips attempting another ambitious drive, Root guided into the slips, Dan Lawrence was bowled offering no shot and Ben Stokes caught behind attempting to withdraw his bat.

Jonny Bairstow edged a hoick across the line, Alex Lees was bowled by a grubber and Ben Foakes ran himself out attempting a suicidal second run. Then Craig Overton tamely guided a catch into the slips.

Myers ended the day with the remarkable figures of 5-9 from 13 overs.

Earlier, England needed 30.3 overs to take the last two Windies wickets. Kemar Roach was caught down the legside after a ninth-wicket stand of 68 and then No11 Jayden Seales helped Da Silva put on another 52.

Da Silva reached his first Test century by crunching Overton for back-to-back boundaries and then, next ball, everybody thought he was caught behind.

Da Silva reviewed the decision but he accepted handshakes from England’s players and had walked off the ground by the time DRS was loaded. Amazingly, it showed the bat was some way from the ball and all the players had to return.

But Seales was caught and bowled by Root in the next over without addition to the total.

England batting coach Marcus Trescothick added: “We’re gutted. The boys are honest and will realise they’ve made some poor decisions. We haven’t got it right. It wasn’t good enough and we need to be better.

“But let’s not judge things just on today – we did some really good things in the first two Test matches.”


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