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India vs England: Pitch looks very similar to last Test: Root

By Pti

Ahmedabad, March 3: England skipper Joe Root on Wednesday said the pitch for the fourth and final Test against India looks very similar to the one on which his team was decimated in the third game but the visitors have learnt their lessons to be ready for the challenge starting on Thursday.

India need to either draw or win the match to find a place in the World Test Championships final in June, while a win for England would revive some of the lost confidence after the thrashing inside two days in the third Test.

"It's (the pitch) looking very similar...I think the most important thing is that we learn all the lessons from the last two, two test matches and make sure we're back for it," Root said when asked about the raging debate over the pitch in the last Test and how this one was looking.

"It's important that if we get ourselves in a similar position in the first innings, we really make that count. And try and get some scoreboard pressure in the game, you know, early on," he said at the virtual press conference, on the eve of the game here.

Root conceded that there is "no point talking about the pitches" as everyone has an opinion on what a good pitch should be. He said what his side would strive for is to play better than the opposition.

Everyone's opinion on what is a good wicket, sporting wicket or unacceptable wicket is different. There have been a few low-scoring games in Test cricket in recent times but not so long ago there were thrilling five-day games as well," he said.

As players you need to play at what is right in front of you and make sure to play better than the opposition. And that is the challenge for us this week.

"We have tried to get on with it and find ways to be better on pitches that are in front of us. That is what we will try this week. We will try and outplay India and if we can do that then it will sum up a very good tour for us, he added.

Root said the English batsmen will look to build partnerships.

"I think that as batters if you don't score runs, you will always look at yourselves, you'll always try and find ways to improve and we've certainly done that.

"We've looked at a couple of dismissals and how we're going to find ways of building big partnerships and getting some significant scores on it if it is a similar surface this time around," he added.

He also informed that the team has not finalised its 11 or 12 at this stage but made it clear that off-spinner Dom Bess was up for selection.

"No, not at this stage and we're going to have another day to see what that wicket finally looks like, ahead of things and we'll get a team at the toss," the England skipper informed.

"He (Dom Bess) is certainly up for selection. He has been training really well. He's got a very good character and if he gets a chance to play I'm sure he'll be desperate to try and exploit the surface if it's anything like the last two games," he added.

The England captain said his side had not underestimated left-arm spinner Axar Patel who grabbed 18 wickets in the two Tests that he has played.

“I definitely don't think we underestimate him (Axar). I think that he's exploited the surface very well. He's managed to beat both edges of the bat, which for any spinner is exactly what you're looking for all the time," said Root, lavishing praise on Patel.

He said England batsmen need to do better at covering the stumps and try to score when possible to put pressure on the Indian bowlers.

According to Root, his team has always got better at the end of the series and expressed optimism that they will do the same this time also.

“It's been obviously quite challenging with the surfaces that we've had here and the way that we've played in the last two games, that means nothing this week, whatever happened has happened.

"We look forward as a team and we are coming to this game full of confidence and try and do exactly that, finish off really strong and make sure that we do everything we can to win this game because it would finish what would be a very successful tour for England side in Asia”, he said.

Root also backed struggling Ben Stokes to come good in the final Test and said he will never doubt the all-rounder's abilities.

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Story first published: Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 23:13 [IST]
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