England skipper Joe Root on Monday said that the addition of left-handed batsman Dawid Malan will bolster the top-three of his side and hopefully it will result in a good outcome in the upcoming third Test against India.
The first Test ended in a draw but India staged an incredible comeback to take the second game by 151 runs at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Both sides will now lock horns in the third Test, beginning Wednesday at Headingley, Leeds.
“Dawid Malan will offer us a lot of experience in that top three, not necessarily in terms of international experience in Test cricket, but he has played a huge amount of international cricket, he has dealt with pressure and he has played red-ball cricket over the course of his career. He’s also had great successes in a massive series in Australia and was our leading scorer out there. We know he is capable of big things in Test cricket,” said Root during a virtual press conference.
“Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns are two fine players, they are very different in their styles, it is an opportunity for them to score big runs and get us off to a good start, hopefully, we can follow through on that,” he added.
Speaking about how the top-order has underperformed so far, Root said: “I think it has been a very challenging summer, we have come across some challenging surfaces as well. We have to find ways to get better, when you look at batting in Test cricket, it revolves around big partnerships. That has got to be our focus, we need to look to have substantial partnerships. In England, starting your innings can be the hardest thing. The first innings in the second Test showed that we improved from the first Test.”
“As I said after the last game, when I have missed out when others have come to the front. I know it has been me in the last couple of games where I have scored the majority of the runs but it is no reason why someone else cannot do that. I want to keep producing big runs, this week presents an opportunity for others to do the same,” he added.
Root attributed his brilliant run of form to the technical changes he made recently.
“Sometimes it’s that old adage if you have to take a little bit of backward step to come forward and feel like reaping the rewards of that and I think I’ve obviously, over a period of time, found myself getting out between 50 and 100.
“I feel I’ve managed those phases little bit better now. Just through a better understanding of what I want to play, what I want to leave. And I suppose, just even more experience within the game.”
He duly credited the Indian pace attack for exploiting English conditions to perfection.
“They’ve got a wonderful attack and I say, look around Test cricket, there are some fantastic attacks out there. A lot of them do suit English conditions or have had the exploits to manage these conditions very well.
“India certainly have done that so far in this series, and we’ve got to keep being smart about finding ways to counter that, finding ways to score put the pressure back on them.
“I think one thing they have is they have a good balance, they have variety of different release points.”
When asked how he would like to deal with India captain Virat Kohli, Root said: “There’s the theatre and everything else surrounding the game. We’ve got to make sure that we play the game how we want to play and we look after that as best as we can, and not get too distracted or drawn into anything that’s not honest,” said Root in the virtual pre-match media interaction.
“We’ve got to be genuine to ourselves, genuine to how we are as individuals and how we are collectively and be as good as we can, the way that we go. Virat’s team will play how they play, I just want us to go out and be the best version of ourselves.”
“There is always going to be conversation on how you want to deal with different situations. We could have managed certain areas better in the last Test, there are three massive games to play in this series and we are desperate to come back.”
Root has already admitted to tactical blunders that cost his side the Lord’s Test. Their emotions also got the better of them.
“I think there were always conversations you always try to find one percenters in ways you can deal with different situations.
“We’ve done some good learning off the back of the last game I think we could have managed certain areas differently, me as the captain, we could have gone about things slightly differently.
“We have got three massive games to play in this series, there’s a lot to play for. And you know we’re desperate to bounce back strongly,” he said.
Wood’s injury has created an opening for Saqib Mahmood’s Test debut and Root did not rule that out.
“I feel Saqib couldn’t be in a better place to potentially play Test cricket, you look at how he’s progressed over the last couple of years across all formats.
“But the opportunities, he’s taken this year when I’ve been given them, he’s been exceptional,” said Root.
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