England skipper Joe Root is confident of his team bouncing back from the drubbing in the third England vs India Test at Trent Bridge.
Not many would predicted the hosts to crumble like the way they did at Trent Bridge after winning at Edgbaston and Lord’s. However, England just could not build on the momentum and were thoroughly outplayed by the world number one Test side.
Barring the toss, not much went right for Joe Root & Co. The England skipper did not have any hesitation in asking the visitors to bat first in the testing conditions. But any hopes of seeing the Indian batting falling apart in swinging conditions was soon thwarted. India rode on fifties from Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to post a challenging 329.
In reply, Joe Root’s men were all out for just 161. Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings had given the team a good start by adding 54 runs. But once both the openers departed on successive deliveries, the rest of the batting lineup fell like a pack of cards. Hardik Pandya was the star of the show, picking up his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests for just 28 runs.
India’s batting clicked in the second essay too. Kohli once again led from the front, scoring a sublime 103. Cheteshwar Pujara and Hardik Pandya also scored fifties as India declared their innings on 352 for 7, thus setting England a target of 521. England were staring down the barrel after being reduced to 62 for 4. Jos Buttler then scored his maiden Test ton, scoring 106 and added 169 runs with Ben Stokes to give his team a glimmer of hope.
However, Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket haul dashed England’s hopes. The hosts were eventually all out for 317 as India won the game by 203 runs.
Speaking after the game, Root said his team is still in the driving seat due to the 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
“We’re definitely in the driving seat as far as the series goes,” Joe Root said. “We have to keep remembering that.”
“We have got a little bit of time now to go away and reflect on what has been a difficult week. But in England we are a very good side at bouncing back from a tough couple of days. I’m fully expecting the guys to come back to Southampton refreshed, ready to go and – we hope – take an opportunity to wrap the series up.”
But while England are leading the series, there is no denying that there batting is yet to click.
Even in the first Test of the series, they had suffered two inexplicable collapses. In the first innings, they were all out for 287 despite being only three down for 216 at one stage. In the second innings, India shot them out for 180.
A century from Chris Woakes helped them put up a good batting show at Lord’s. However, their recent knack of collapses came back to haunt them as India bowled them out for just 161. Barring Buttler, who scored 39 off 32, to give the scoreboard some respectability, none of the English batsmen made any significant contribution.
Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook had added 54 runs for the first wicket. But once both departed on successive deliveries, the rest of the lineup fell like a pack of cards. England lost all their ten wickets inside a session.
For the third time in the last two years, England were bowled out inside a session. The other two instances happened in Mirpur 2016 and Auckland 2018.
When asked about that, Root admitted that the performance was below par.
“It’s obviously not good enough,” said Joe Root. “In this format, and for the group of players we’ve got, it’s well below par what we’re capable of doing – even if it is bowler-friendly conditions. We have to get that right very quickly.”
The fourth England vs India Test would get underway in Southampton from August 30.