England captain Joe Root says spin bowling will play big role in pink-ball Test against India

February 23, 2021

England captain Joe Root expects spin to play a big role during the day-night third Test against India in Ahmedabad.

England quick Mark Wood spoke last week about how the tourists' seamers are itching to get their hands on the pink ball due to the extra swing it is providing.

But Root - whose side are tied at 1-1 with India after losing the second Test in Chennai by 317 runs - said: "The pink ball has got quite a hard seam. It seems to stay harder for longer.

"Not only will that aid the seamers but I think it will aid the spinners as well - it might give them a little bit more bounce and might turn quicker for longer. It's about being very aware of that.

"I am sure at some point the wicket will turn but the majority of Test wickets do at some point. It's just when and whether it happens off the straight or out of the rough.

"It might be that this pitch deteriorates in a similar fashion to the first one of the series but it might not.

"We have to be ready to react and the fact the guys are full of confidence and really excited to have a big impact with ball in hand as a seam group is really exciting.

"How we operate I don't think changes. We still have to look to build pressure for long periods of time, try and squeeze the game. Make it very difficult for guys to score freely and score boundaries and try to force an error. Any extra lateral movement will work in our favour."

'England can learn from Ashwin'

India levelled the four-match series in Chennai after winning the second Test on a dustbowl, with off-spinning all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin scoring a second-innings century and taking eight wickets in the match.

Root says England can learn from how Ashwin batted against spin.

"I watched how he played Leachy [England spinner Jack Leach] when he scored that hundred," the captain added of Ashwin.

"He used the crease to his advantage, not just coming down the wicket but also getting deep in his crease and trying to make it very hard for Jack to bowl one length at him.

"We have to keep being proactive and smart about how we look to score our runs and really make it difficult for their spinners to bowl six balls at us.

"India managed to rotate strike very well so that is something we can add to our own games and take forward as a batting group."

Root expecting 'electric atmosphere'

England will play India in the first international match at the renovated Sardar Patel Stadium, which, with a capacity of 110,000, is the biggest cricket ground in the world.

The stadium will only be 50 per cent full this week due to Covid restrictions but Root still expects an "electric atmosphere".

Root added: "It is a phenomenal stadium and I am sure you are going to see some brilliant cricket here over the years.

"It looks fantastic and hopefully the wicket can produce some very good cricket and the two sides can do that as well.

"I am sure the atmosphere will be electric. It was great to see fans back in the previous game and with the size of this ground I'm sure that noise will go up again.

"That's what you want - to be part of these big games in these big stadiums and being part of history, which us what this game is."

Kohli: India must adapt against pink ball

India captain Virat Kohli has urged his side to make the necessary adjustments in the pink-ball fixture.

Kohli's men were bundled out for their lowest-ever Test score of 36 in their most recent pink-ball Test, against Australia in Adelaide in December.

He said: "The first session is probably the nicest to bat, when the sun is out and the ball doesn't do much, but when it starts to get dark, especially during that twilight, it gets very tricky. The light changes and it's difficult to sight the ball.

"Then under the lights, it's like playing the first session in the morning in a normal Test match. The ball does tend to swing a lot. So I think it's a reversal of roles and something that you need to adjust to quite quickly as a batsman.

"The pink ball does tend to swing a lot more than the normal red ball. Spin will come into play, for sure, but I don't think the new ball and the fast bowlers can be ignored. The pink ball does bring them into the game."

Catch text commentary of the day-night third Test between India and England on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 8.30am on Wednesday.

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