After the mountainous series that Virat Kohli had in 2018, India’s last trip to England, the expectations from the Indian skipper was high going into the series. However, his dismissals, often echoing the lows of the 2014 series has resulted in a mini-batting slump for the right-hander, who has scored just 124 runs in the series thus far.
England’s meticulous planning and accuracy has trumped over Kohli thus far in the series. The Three Lions’ skipper Joe Root credited the bowling attack for their efforts of keeping the Indian skipper quiet thus far in the series.
"The credit needs to go to our bowling attack, Virat is a world-class player hence the credit needs to be given to the bowling group. We have been able to keep him quiet, it is an extremely good effort from our bowling group and it is something we have to continue if we have to win this series.
“We have found ways to get him out, he is a fine player and has done tremendous things in Test cricket, we will have to look at ways to get the best players out," said Root during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
After their miserable outing at Lord’s, England returned to winning ways in Headingley, with their bowling performance helping the hosts complete a terrific innings victory. Root insisted that the team has been looking to be the best version of themselves after the loss at Lord’s.
"You are always learning, I always look to learn and grow as a captain. But as a team, one thing we took away from the Lord's Test was that we have to be the best version of ourselves and we do things our way. We do not get sucked into playing someone else's game and we go about things in our manner. We did that in Headingley and it is important we implement that in the series," he added.
Going into the Test in London, England would be without the services of their No.1 wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who is expecting the birth of his second child. Root, however, insisted that while the squad would definitely miss Buttler’s presence, he reckoned that Bairstow is more than capable with the gloves.
"Jonny Bairstow, we all know what he is capable of with the gloves. He has done it for a long period in his international career, he has never let anyone down. His record is very good as a keeper, he is really looking forward to the challenge.
“Jos Buttler has been our number one keeper for a long period now and I think he has made the right decision to be at the birth of his child. We hope everything goes well and I hope he enjoys the moment," said Root.
While reports suggest that India might field the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin at The Oval, Root reckoned that the Three Lions are ready for a response from the visitors. The English skipper also stated that the hosts would have to work harder now to find themselves ahead of the game, to stand a chance at winning the Test series.
"Absolutely, world-class side like India led by Virat Kohli, I expect nothing less than a response. We would be naive to think otherwise, it is important that we do not get to deluded. We have gotten to the level playing field, we have to work harder now. If we find ourselves ahead of the game at any stage, we have to consolidate," he added.
"His record (Ashwin) speaks for itself, he's a world class player. We've seen him score runs and take wickets against us, we know what he's capable of in Test arena," Root said when asked if he's surprised that Ashwin did not play the first three Tests.