India vs England: Joe Root says was always “in control” of India’s run chase after series win
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India vs England: Joe Root says was always “in control” of India’s run chase after series win

England’s series win has come despite a shaky top-order batting and confusion over whether Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler will keep wicket going forward.

cricket Updated: Sep 03, 2018 13:37 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Southampton
india vs england,joe root,jos buttler
Cricket - England v India - Fourth Test - Ageas Bowl, West End, Britain - September 2, 2018 England's Joe Root shakes the hand of India's Virat Kohli after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs(REUTERS)

England skipper Joe Root said he was confident of defending the 244 runs after dismissing India for 184 to win the fourth Test at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday with a day to spare and the series 3-1 with a game left.

“It’s definitely been the most enjoyable,” Root said when asked if beating the No 1 ranked Test side was up there for the batsman who was appointed skipper following the 0-4 hammering the team got in India two years ago.

Root said he felt in charge of things in the dressing room during this series, which has seen controversy over leg-spinner Adil Rashid’s selection and Ben Stokes’ return despite pending disciplinary hearing over his brawl outside a Bristol bar last September.

“I feel like I’ve had quite a big input into what’s been going on, felt very (much) in control of things – and I’ve got a real clear vision of how I see us improving long term as a group. It’s a really exciting time for me and for this team,” he told reporters after the 60-run victory.

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Root’s move to drop himself to No 4 in the second innings and send Moeen to bat at No 3 was also questioned, but he said it was a tactical move that gave the team the best chance to get runs and build a lead. He said the team was in synch with his plans.

“We’ve got some guys who are very willing to buy into that, and are very realistic and understanding of where we currently are and where we could really get to,” he added, about the team ranked No 5 in the world.

“I hope it’s a big step in the right direction for us, and we can go from strength to strength,” he said.

England’s series win has come despite a shaky top-order batting and confusion over whether Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler will keep wicket going forward. Bairstow is likely to be stripped of keeping duties to make him bat at No 4 and strengthen the department.

Root believed England would have defended even 190, and said India have made the series exciting.

“Credit to India, they’ve played some really fine cricket throughout, not just this game but the whole series. It must have been great viewing for people at home to see the way that, especially the first game and this one, how tight they’ve been, how it swung both ways.”

Root made a crucial 48 in the second innings. “When I was batting on it, I thought 190 would have been a good score. But the fact we managed to get up and beyond 230-240 was a fantastic effort, and proved to be a really difficult chase.

“I know there was a lot talked about that 275 being what looked to be a difficult chase, but I was fairly confident that if we bowled to our potential – like we did today – then we’d have enough in the bank to get across the line.

“I’m really pleased how it’s all turned out.

“We always knew there was going to be a partnership at some stage. The biggest challenge for us was if we could stay calm and collected and trust that, if we stuck to what we wanted to do for long periods of time, the wicket would do the rest for us.

“I thought as a whole group we performed exceptionally well, and managed to do that. That’s testament to the skill levels and the attitude of the team.

“It’s really pleasing that, under that sort of pressure, we’ve managed to come good.”

First Published: Sep 03, 2018 08:47 IST