Joe Root says England can’t get ‘sucked into sideshow’ in India series but insists ‘no hatred’ between sides
England captain Joe Root admits he cannot afford to get “sucked into a sideshow” after India’s fiery second Test victory lit the fuse for the remainder of the series, but insisted there is “no real hatred” between the sides.
India claimed a famous victory at Lord’s on Monday to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after a gripping final day, which England had gone into as slight favourites only to crash to a 151-run defeat.
Tempers had begun to fray on the evening of the third day, when England’s No11 James Anderson was targeted by a spell of short-pitched bowling from Jasprit Bumrah.
England were looking to wrap up the tail quickly to set up a chase when Bumrah emerged to bat on the morning of day five but instead a ninth-wicket partnership of 89 with fellow tailender Mohammed Shami completely turned the game on its head.
Root and his bowlers were accused of having been sucked into the emotion of the battle by opting for a hostile approach of their own, rather than testing the defences of two players with woeful Test match batting records, and the England skipper admitted afterwards he had got his tactics wrong.
“I think fair play to Virat [Kohli] and his team, they’ve jumped on something that’s emotionally felt like it’s given them an edge and something to cling on to,” Root said. “Tactically, if you find yourself in a similar situation, would I do things differently, then yeah, potentially I would have on this occasion. In a different situation, on a different wicket it might be different again.
“It’s important for me to look at things logically and not get sucked into a sideshow, look at the cricket and make sure we’re doing everything we can to take those last three wickets if we find ourselves in a similar situation.”
Things continued in heated fashion into the afternoon, when, after declaring, India left England chasing an unlikely 272 to win or with 60 overs to survive for the draw.
A fired-up Kohli led the Indian charge, exchanging heated words with Jos Buttler, while seamer Mohammed Siraj, whose four-for eventually saw England rolled over for just 120, clashed with Ollie Robinson, the bowler’s departure spelling the end of any realistic hopes of saving the game.
After a short break, the series moves on to Headingley, with the third Test starting on August 25, but Root played down any bad blood between the sides.