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India vs England: Joe Root survives injury scare, hints at Moeen Ali’s inclusion at Lord’s

Joe Root confirmed that England are toying with the idea of fielding Moeen Ali as the second spinner besides leg-spinner Adil Rashid as the Lord’s pitch kept the home team guessing.

cricket Updated: Aug 08, 2018 23:41 IST
N Ananthanaryanan
N Ananthanaryanan
Hindustan Times, London
India vs England,Joe Root,Moeen Ali
England's Joe Root during the press conference ahead of second Test against India at Lord’s.(Action Images via Reuters)

Joe Root survived a scare after being hit on his left hand by a delivery from all-rounder Chris Woakes, returning from injury, while batting in the nets, but the England skipper allayed any fears of an injury ahead of the second Test against India starting at Lord’s on Thursday.

“I’m absolutely fine – just one of those annoyances the day before a game. You try to shake it off. I managed to bat on and get my practice done, so no worries there,” Root told a news conference on Wednesday.

However, Root was less certain about team composition. England are toying with the idea of fielding Moeen Ali as the second spinner besides leg-spinner Adil Rashid as the Lord’s pitch kept the home team guessing.

England announced their eleven a day before the first Test at Edgbaston, but leading 1-0 after a 31-run win, Root admitted the team management will take a call only after taking a look at the pitch before the game. There was rain on Tuesday night and a nip in the air on Wednesday, but the wicket was under cover to ensure the moisture did not escape in the sun.

READ: India vs England: Arjun Tendulkar bowls to Virat Kohli at Lord’s - Watch video

With uncapped seamer Jamie Porter kept out from the 13, 20-year-old Surrey middle-order batsman, Ollie Pope is set to make his Test debut and bat at No 4.

“He’s performed exceptionally well this season in county championship cricket and played some very important knocks under pressure for Surrey; he’s got a very good all-round game. He’s very mature for a young man,” Root said.

Root urged his team not to give Virat Kohli chances, after the India skipper, dropped twice, hit 149 in the first innings of the Edgbaston Test.

“He’s a fine player and it shows when you give the best players opportunities they don’t need many more,” he said, but pointed out that England’s bowling plans worked well on the fourth morning when the wrapped up victory.

“On that last morning (Kohli) batted 55 minutes and faced 13-14 balls (17). Very skilful to be able to manipulate him off the strike and starve him of facing the majority of deliveries. And in the first innings, to create two half-chances and two clear chances was testament to how we’ve got good plans against him and found a way to potentially get him out.

READ: India vs England: Batting collapses not due to flaw in technique - Virat Kohli

“Nice to know we are doing the right things, but it’s about taking those chances when they come.”

England have a recent shaky record against Asian teams at Lord’s. India beat them the last time in 2014 and they lost to Pakistan earlier in the summer.

“Maybe… every time you turn up here the surfaces can be quite different. At the start of the summer we were very below par and it would be easy to look too far into that, but against South Africa there was quite a lot of spin, and against India previously, spin came into it a lot in the second innings.

“That might play a big factor. We’ll have to wait to see what the surface looks like tomorrow morning but ultimately on the last couple of occasions, whoever has played well in the first innings has managed to contain that threat through the rest of the game. So, we have to start well and try to stay on top if we can.”

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 00:00 IST