Joe Root hailed a “clinical” performance from his players and praised those who have “delivered” for him time and time again after breaking Michael Vaughan’s record for the most Test wins as England captain.
England took India eight wickets for just 63 runs on day four of the third Test in Leeds to roll the tourists for 278, level up the five-match series at 1-1 with an innings-and-76-run win and earn Root his 27th victory as skipper.
Root’s side had torpedoed India for 78 on day one after losing the toss and then piled on 432 in their sole innings, with Root scoring his sixth Test century of 2021 and Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan – the latter playing his first Test since 2018 – passing fifty.
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Root’s men had been thrashed by 151 runs in the second Test at Lord’s but the captain says character is something his sides have never been lacking.
“I am living my boyhood dream captaining England. It’s something I have dreamt of doing since being really small,” said Root, whose team will now be looking to continue their form in the fourth Test at The Kia Oval from Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am.
England vs India
September 2, 2021, 10:00am
“I have a great group of players who are talented and dedicated to becoming better all the time.
“We showed huge character to put in a performance like that after the way last week turned out and I couldn’t be more proud of them. It was a clinical performance.
“I am proud to have gone past Michael but you don’t do that on your own as captain. That’s down to the group of players I have been able to captain and the performances they have put in on a regular basis.
“You are making the decisions but they go out there time and time again and put in big performances. People like Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook – some of the greats of the game. Ben Stokes, too.
“I have been lucky to work with so many wonderful players that under pressure will deliver for you time and time again. Coaches as well.”
Root – who says he has had no thoughts about when his time as skipper may come to an end – saw his side complete victory before lunch on day four in Leeds as Ollie Robinson (5-65) inspired an India collapse from 215-2.
The captain said: “The way the bowlers have been in this game is just exceptional. It was a brilliant performance from ball one.
“We took advantage of the conditions on day one and bowled exceptionally well, finding the length early and exploiting it very well.
“The work they then put in on [day three] and the way they managed to control and squeeze the rate gave us the opportunity to use the new ball and create opportunities.
“When the chances came, we were clinical, with our catching as well. There is a big smiley dressing room and two big games ahead of us.”
Burns (61) and Hameed (68) shared an opening partnership of 135 after England had bundled India out for 78 in the first innings, before Malan (70) and Root (121) put on 139 for the hosts’ third wicket.
“[Burns and Hameed’s] partnership was almost a turning point in the game for me, so credit to those two lads who were under the pump off the back of last week,” said Root.
“To perform like that was brilliant and it gave the rest of us the chance to make that big first-innings score Silvers [head coach Chris Silverwood] and I harp on about.
“Malan showed great control early on and then how eye-catching and fluent he can be. For him to come back into Test cricket and play like that showed all his maturity and international experience. Hopefully he can continue that.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done but we head to the Oval with confidence. We will be ready for the fight and contest in our own way and hopefully we can mirror this performance.”
Root said he also hopes to have seamers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes available for the fourth Test – Wood missed the Leeds fixture with a shoulder injury while Woakes has just returned to county action after a bruised heel.
Jos Buttler’s wife is expecting the couple’s second child and Root said Buttler’s availability for the rest of the series should be announced in the coming days.
Watch the fourth Test between England and India, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.
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