Root under pressure - GulfToday

Root under pressure


Joe Root. File

After India’s sterling performance at the Oval, hosts England face a crucial test  when they take to the field at Old Trafford for the fifth and final match of the series (“Buttler, Leach return to England squad for 5th Test against India,” Sept 8, Gulf Today).

England skipper Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood are looking at all avenues to spruce up the squad for their must-win tie. Probably the return of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and left-arm spinner Jack Leach may prove lucky for the hosts.

But Leach has not played a Test since March despite taking 28 Test wickets in six matches on tours of Sri Lanka and India. He is a good hand to have though, because it gives England a second spin option alongside off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali,

Buttler missed out on the Oval tie, which gave the visitors a dominant edge, because he went to attend the birth of his second child. Should he take his place as vice-captain, it will mean the exit of either Jonny Bairstow or Ollie Pope.

The series has been a great morale booster for India, especially after the way Virat Kohli’s men came from behind to steal the fourth match from the hosts. Though both captains are eyeing a win, the pressure is on Root after the batting collapse on the final day in the last tie.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating, especially turning up with the opportunity to go and win a Test match. To be bowled out is hard to take. But we’ll look at how we responded from Lord’s and the performance we put in at Headingley,” said Root.

The visitors dismissed England for 210 runs on the fifth day despite Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed putting up an opening partnership of 100 runs. Bumrah literally reversed the tide for India. 

A cracker of a match awaits cricket fans.

Aaron D’Souza — By email

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