File photo of Joe Root(PTI)
File photo of Joe Root(PTI)

Analysis - Can Joe Root sweep his way to success against spin in India?

  • India vs England: Root was also England's highest run-getter on their last trip to India where he amassed over 400 runs in 5 Test matches but his team ended up losing 0-4.
UPDATED ON FEB 03, 2021 04:15 PM IST

One of the deciding factors on how England fare in their upcoming 4-match Test series in India will be dependent on the performance of their captain and batting mainstay Joe Root.

India vs England series - Full Coverage

The England number four scored 426 runs in 4 innings against Sri Lanka to help his team complete a series sweep and averages over 100 in Test cricket 2021, after a lull in 2020, which saw him not register a single Test ton in a calendar year for the first time in his career.

Joe Root year-wise Test career
Joe Root year-wise Test career

Not just that, Root was also England's highest run-getter on their last trip to India where he amassed over 400 runs in 5 Test matches but his team ended up losing 0-4.

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A look at his performance on that tour shows why he was so successful and why he will be India's number 1 target on the trip. Root's ability to play well against the turning ball is clear from the fact that he has scored 453 runs against spin over two Test series, which accounts for over 77 percent of the total runs he has scored in India.

Root vs bowler type in Tests in India
Root vs bowler type in Tests in India

Root is skilled in employing the sweep shot, of all kinds, against spinners and that is the reason behind his success. But he has also lost his wicket to spinners on 9 occasions and that will encourage Indian captain Virat Kohli to deploy his tweakers against Root.

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Root: Shot selection against spin in India in Tests
Root: Shot selection against spin in India in Tests

His main battle will be with India's spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin, who had dismissed the England captain twice on the 2016 tour, but not before conceding a hefty number of runs.

This battle could very well decide the fate of the series for both teams. It is needless to say though that Root will need good support from the other batsmen who need to rally around their skipper.

A look at England's victorious 2012-13 series in India shows how the likes of Pietersen, Root himself and a few others supported then skipper Alastair Cook, who had held England's batting together.

India has lost only three Test series at home in the past 21 years and their loss to England in 2012-13 is their only defeat at home in the past 16 years. India is a well guarded fortress and if England wants to breach it, they would need their commander to come up with the goods consistently on this trip.

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