Joe Root says England’s 10-wicket defeat to India inside two days of the third Test won’t define his team, who also fell out of contention for a place in the WTC final as a result.
On a day when 17 wickets fell in a match described by his opposite number, Virat Kohli, as “bizarre”, Root, the England captain, claimed five for eight with his part-time offspin as India, resuming on 99 for 3 were bowled out for 145, a first-innings lead of just 33.
But his first Test five-for was small consolation when England managed just 81 in their second innings as Axar Patel claimed another five-for and 11 for the match and R Aswhin passed 400 Test wickets with his seventh for the match.
“It sums up the wicket up slightly, if I’m getting five wickets on there then you can tell it is giving a fair amount of spin,” Root told the host broadcaster after the match. “It’s nice to contribute but disappointing it’s in a losing cause.”
That left the hosts needing just 49 runs in their second innings and they got there with ease, Rohit bringing up the winning runs with a six off Root. Root put his side’s failure down to their first-innings collapse when they went from 74 for 2 to 112 all out.
“Having won the toss and batted first, we felt like we got ourselves in a pretty good position there and we just didn’t capitalise on it,” Root said. “You get to that sort of position, you really want to make it count. Had we even got 250 on that wicket, that would have been a really good score.
“It’s something we’ll look back on and try to make sure that we’re better for it. We’ve just got to keep trying to learn and get better all the time. A week like this doesn’t define us as a team, we know what we’re capable of doing and we’ll come back and use the hurt of this week as motivation going into that last game.”
The last game, starting on March 4 also in Ahmedabad, albeit in the morning as opposed to a day-night match, is crucial to India’s hopes of reaching the WTC final against New Zealand at Lord’s in June. England needed to defeat India 3-1 to reach the final whereas India, now leading the four-Test series 2-1, need only a draw in their last match to keep Australia out of the contest.
“More than anything, it’s about not having any baggage going into that last game, not have any of the dismissals from the previous two games hanging over our batting and just remember what we’re capable of doing,” Root said.
“We’ve got some fine players in that dressing room, some fine batters that are more than capable of making some big scores and we’ve seen with ball in hand were going to be able to take wickets out here, so it’s just can we build pressure for long periods of time and similarly when we get in a position of strength or we get ourselves 70-odd for two on a similar sort of surface, can we really make it count.”
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.