England captain Joe Root acknowledged that he could have declared earlier on the final day of the drawn second Test against West Indies.
By leaving his somewhat conservative declaration until lunch, he left his bowlers only 65 overs on a docile pitch to collect the 10 second-innings West Indies wickets needed for victory.
The hosts were never going to seriously chase the 282 runs they needed to win, and probably would not have gone for a somewhat smaller margin either.
But Root in a post match interview sounded as though he did not want to give the hosts even a sniff of a chance.
“It’s always a tricky one isn’t it ... trying to weigh that up,” he said of the constantly changing mathematical calculation surrounding the declaration.
“Just with how small this ground is and how strong the wind was, you don’t want to ... give too many overs.
“To look back in hindsight, could we have pulled out 10 overs earlier, would it have made much difference?”
He was speaking after West Indies finished on 135 for five, with captain Kraigg Brathwaite unbeaten on 56 in addition to his marathon first innings 160.
Despite a second straight draw in the series, leaving everything up for grabs in the final Test in Grenada starting on Thursday, Root took plenty of encouragement from his team’s performance in a match where they were mostly the better team.
“It’s just really pleasing to see us make a substantial first innings total for the first time in a long time,” he said of their 507 for nine declared score.
“Hopefully the guys have gained a lot of confidence from it and we can replicate it again and again and again.”
Interim head coach Paul Collingwood added: “To play on pitches like that is hard work. We’re getting closer to that win.
“It wasn’t to be but if we continue with that same kind of attitude it’ll be just around the corner.”
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