England captain Joe Root is hopeful that his bowlers will keep the Indian batters quiet as the Test action moves to South London this Thursday.
There is a lot of noise regarding the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin in the Indian lineup. The specialist off-spinner, who had a short stint at Surrey ahead of the series, has a fair idea about The Oval; plus, the English batters fell into his trap earlier this year in India.
Root, however, is not too worried after the massive win in Headingley. “Ravichandran Ashwin is a world-class bowler. We have seen him score runs and take wickets against us. We know what he is capable of in the Test arena. We will prepare for the challenges that he may pose coming into this Test match. Ultimately, you have to play the delivery and the situation, and not the reputation,” he told reporters ahead of the fourth Test against India.
Aware of India’s solid bench strength, Root has analytical data ready to study batters such as Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal and Suryakumar Yadav should they get a game in the remainder of the Tests. “Ultimately, we will be full of confidence, and they will be coming into the series halfway through, which is never an easy thing to do. We have to keep applying pressure and make it very difficult for them to get into the series. We will be respectful as well as they are a fine set of players who are capable of scoring big runs in Test cricket,” he said.
Root has scored 507 runs in the first three Tests, including three big hundreds, but India captain Virat Kohli has struggled for runs. More than the form — 124 runs in three Tests — the repetitive nature of the dismissals is a concern. Kohli has been hanging his bat outside the off-stump; nicking the deliveries rather than leaving them.
Root praised his bowlers for their performance against Kohli. “Virat is world-class. There is no doubt about that. The credit has to go to our bowlers to keep a world-class player quiet. It was a good effort from the bowling group, and if we have to win the series, we have to continue that. We have found ways of getting him out, but now we have to find ways to build pressure and keep him quiet. He is a fine player and has done tremendous things in Test cricket,” he said.