‘It would be wrong to hide behind it’ – England captain on mysterious illness

There will not be any blame placed on a ‘mysterious illness’, according to England captain Joe Root, after his side’s 107 runs loss to the Proteas in the first Test match.

Read: Proteas sign off on bitter 2019 with sweet win over England

Ten players were affected in the build-up to and during the match in Centurion but the skipper stressed that it should not be seen as the basis for a pear-shaped outing. “There has been a huge amount thrown at the group, on and off the field. It would be wrong to hide behind that, but it has disrupted preparations for a lot of the guys,” Root told BBC Sport.

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South Africa drew first blood against England to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series (Image: Getty Images).

“We showed a huge amount of character throughout the whole week, and no one has moaned about it.” Chris Silverwood, who is now without a win in three Tests since taking charge as England coach, said the illness left his side with an unpredictable build-up.

I’ve never been involved in a build-up like this. To have a morning of a game where you’re getting told that players are falling over. Guys that were coming back from being poorly, were training while others were on the park, to keep them separate. When Jos Buttler was poorly yesterday, he was in a different room.

Chris Silverwood, England team head coach

England will be hard on preparing for the next Test match in Cape Town on Friday – which comes in a turnaround of less than a week – with Root hoping that the mysterious illness will dissipate. “Everything has been thrown at this group and we have worked hard to deal with that,” said Root. “Maybe that will stand us in good stead for the next game. Hopefully, the illness is through the camp and we can now prepare well.”