ENG vs IND: Root admits to committing tactical blunders; underestimated Indian lower-order


Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

Joe Root during press conference

English captain Joe Root admitted to committing tactical blunders and said he underestimated the Indian lower-order after Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah‘s batting heroics fashioned an epic win at Lord’s in the second Test.

England were in a dominant position before they lost control during a chaotic unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 89 between Shami (56 not out) and Bumrah (34 not out) on the final morning at Lord’s.

Related Stories

England were then bowled out for 120 inside two sessions to lose by 151 runs. Bumrah contributed three wickets and Shami one while the major damage on the Englishmen were done by Mohammed Siraj (4/32). Senior pacer Ishant Sharma took two wickets.

“I think a lot falls on my shoulders as captain. Tactically I could have done things slightly differently,” Root said at the post-match virtual news conference.

“It (Shami and Bumrah partnership) was the pivotal moment of the game, without question, and I don’t think I dealt with that well enough tactically. It put us in a difficult position,” he said.

The partnership was India’s highest at Lord’s for the ninth wicket, bettering previous best of 66 between Kapil Dev and Madan Lal in 1982, and overall the fourth best outside the subcontinent.

“It’s just disappointing we didn’t manage to close out that innings how we could have. Probably I just underestimated how challenging and useful the lower order defence can be so as I said a lot falls on my shoulders,” Root said.

During the England first innings, Bumrah had dished out some short stuff against number 11 batsman James Anderson who copped few blows to his body and it seemed Root lost the battle in carrying out the payback.

There was a barrage of short balls when the Indian late order duo were at the crease. Root admitted the short-ball ploy against Shami and Bumrah failed.

“Looking back, I’d look at some of the field placings and the way we bowled. We could have looked at maybe attacking the stumps a little bit more frequently and using short ball as more of a surprise,” he said.

“We have to give them some credit. They scored in unusual areas and made it hard to set conventional fields and you were trying to manage taking wickets but not letting the game get away from us.

“But I would have taken a little bit more time and probably brought more modes of dismissal into the game sooner.”

The tension and flare-ups between the two teams were palpable but Root said there was no bad blood between them.

“Virat’s got his style and his way of doing things that’s probably contrasting naturally to the way I play my cricket. Fair play to Virat and his team, they’ve jumped on something emotional that’s given them an edge and something to cling on to tactically.

“India as a side grabbed onto something and used that to their advantage on this occasion. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think there is any nastiness or hatred there between anyone out there on the field.”

Root, Jos Buttler (25) and Moeen Ali (13) were the only players to reach double figures, as their top-three — Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed — cut a sorry figure with scores of 0, 0 and 9 in their second innings.

“I expected us to bat out so it’s disappointing we didn’t manage to. We need to score heavier. The guys will know that. Credit to India but I don’t think there is any hiding from the fact we need to get better.”
Root has been the pillar of strength for England and scored bulk of their runs in the series averaging 128.66. In contrast, their next best batsman is Jonny Bairstow who averages 29.50.

Asked if batting was becoming a burden on his captaincy, Root said: “There have been plenty of occasions in my career when others have carried me through games. We’ve just got to keep being better at building those big partnerships.

“I am an experienced captain now. I’ve played a lot of Test cricket as a batter and I’m at a different point in my career when compared with a lot of the other guys. Batting is a collective effort.”

There’s a nine-day break before the third Test begins on August 25 and Root urged the team to come back refreshed.

“We need to stay calm. It’s not time to panic. There is a lot of cricket in the series.”