Teams head for Lord’s on Monday all-square after rain wrecks intriguing final day
India had nine wickets in hand going into that final day, requiring another 157 runs to win, and there is no doubt they were favourites. But rain forced a complete washout, meaning the first LV= Insurance Test was drawn.
But while Root, who was named Player of the Match after making a half-century in the first innings and a century in the second, accepted India were “in the driving seat”, he felt that the pressure of the situation could have played in England’s favour.
“At one stage it looked like we could have potentially had 40 overs and I think in that period, it felt like we would have been able to create nine chances on the surface like that,” Root said. “I’d be lying if I wasn’t to say that India weren’t in the driving seat going into today, but we know on a wicket like that, a couple of wickets in a cluster and of course that game can turn on its head.
“With the pressures of batting on a fifth-day wicket, things could very quickly have fallen in our favour and we certainly believed that we’d have been able to create nine more chances.
“If we’d have been good enough in the field and taken those then we could have been sat here one-nil up, but unfortunately the weather has won. In many ways, the weather’s robbed us all of a fantastic final day of Test cricket, which is a slight shame.”
“We certainly put the practice in,” Root said. “We catch a lot of balls in practice. It’s about trying to have an element of calm and trust and belief in your own ability. That can be hard in pressure situations. As a player, you just need to make sure you’re not panicking. You need to remind yourself that you’re doing all the hard yards and making sure that, when the next opportunity comes around, you’re giving yourself the best chance.
“Fielding at slip it is such a mental thing. If you can find a way of staying relaxed and trusting your technique, then you’re certainly in a better place to take the next opportunity.”
“I thought Ollie bowled extremely well,” Root said. “He’s got a unique set of attributes. He has a very high release point and he makes things happen. He makes the ball nip around and his accuracy in this game was exceptional. He managed to do a brilliant job. He showed what he is very capable of doing at this level. In two Tests he has shown everyone how skilful he is.”
With none of his colleagues having managed a score higher than 32, however, Root accepted there was “a lot to work on” ahead of the next game.
“After our first innings, we were well below par,” he said. “250 on there would have been par. There’s a lot to work on. We know there are areas we need to be better: we need to take our chances in the field and we need to make big first-innings runs.”
Both sides travel to London on Monday and are expected to train at Lord’s on Tuesday.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo