England seal big win
India vs England
Chennai: Joe Root has hailed the work ethic of his England side while warning that they must continue to improve after taking a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series in Chennai. England enjoyed a “fantastic five days” to inflict India’s first defeat at home since 2017, with Root leading from the front in his 100th Test, but he was keen to focus on maintaining the high standards after wrapping up victory with time to spare on the final afternoon.
Root’s first-innings double-hundred set the tone, and there were contributions from Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes with the bat, and the bowlers then shared the wickets around in both innings to complete one of England’s most memorable overseas victories. Criticism of England’s indecisive approach with the bat after tea on day four melted away as they claimed five wickets in the morning session – led by an expert spell of reverse swing from James Anderson – on the way to their first win in India since 2012.
“Fantastic five days, the way we’ve got about things, we’ve executed the gameplan brilliantly, and to finish in the manner we have done today is really pleasing. But we know there’s a huge amount of hard work ahead of us for the rest of the series,” Root said. “[There’s been] a lot of hard work from the guys, a willingness to learn and develop their games. We’ve said how we wanted to play our cricket, and we’ve managed to do consistently now. Can we turn up next week and do it again? Can we keep finding ways of getting better on surfaces and conditions we’re not used to? We’ve got some very adaptable young players that have come in and very quickly had to learn on the job, in the hardest environments.
“Look at Dom Sibley, the last two games he’s played fantastically well off the back of a couple low scores. He’s figured out a way of playing in these conditions and that’s the attitude and mindset of the whole dressing room. Really important we don’t just stand still now, and be happy with what we’ve achieved, we try and go one more and find ways of being better in these conditions.”
Root shrugged off questions about England’s approach in the second innings. Having taken a 241-run lead, they attempted to push for quick runs – Root himself scored 40 off 32 – before seeming to get stuck between mindsets after tea. Talk of a declaration was moot as they were eventually bowled out, leaving India a theoretical 107 overs in which to score 420.
“More than anything, it was to try to make sure there were only two outcomes possible in the game,” Root said. “The idea was to get to 400 and try to speed things up a bit. It didn’t quite materialise like that. We also wanted to make sure that the ball was nice and firm when we turned up this morning, so we could exploit those lengths. Having spent more time that anyone else on that wicket, batted on it at different points, I thought the progression of how it deteriorated was significant and there would be plenty happening for us.
“If there was only the two opportunities for a result in the game then that would play into our hands. I thought our bowlers delivered brilliantly today and we ended up with so much time in the game that it worked out perfectly.”
‘ Virat Kohli explains why Kuldeep Yadav was not included in playing XI in 1st Test
Chennai: When India captain Virat Kohli announced the playing XI for the first Test against England after the toss, there was one notable absentee – Kudeep Yadav. India were playing three spinners but joining R Ashwin and Washington Sundar was Shahbaz Nadeem in place of Kuldeep.
Nadeem’s inclusion was surprising because he was not a part of India’s original squad, and was only included in the squad after allrounder Axar Patel was ruled out of the first Test due to a sprain in his left knee.
After India lost the first Test on Tuesday, Kohli was asked about the reasons behind not playing Kuldeep in the first Test. Speaking about the same, the India skipper insisted that he does not regret the decision.
“Not really, not at all. When you playing two off-spinners, Kuldeep becomes more or less same kind of spinner taking the ball away,” Kohli said at the press conference.
“We were quite clear on what we wanted to play, what combination we wanted to play. There are no regrets whatsoever on that decision. Moving forward, we will think of combinations, which brings us variety as a bowling attack,” he added.
“And not one dimensional, turning away from the bat. These things are very important to bat,” Kohli further said.
It will be interesting to see if India stick with the same playing combination for the 2nd Test which will be played at the same venue starting from Saturday.