Apart from managing to keep the series alive, what would have pleased the England think-tank about Joe Root’s match-winning hundred was the how he showed the way to bat effectively against the spin of Kuldeep Yadav. (Match highlights)
The chinaman bowler has played havoc in the English ranks on this tour, bamboozling them with his variations. He again picked up three early wickets in the second ODI, but then Root displayed the technique and temperament to come out on top in his personal battle against the Indian ace at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Just his technique was so impressive while facing spin as compared to his teammates: staying low and balanced, the backlift and wrist play controlled with good use of the crease. It was a good comeback for Root after falling for a golden duck in the first T20 to Kuldeep and then succumbing leg before wicket in the first ODI at Trent Bridge.
“I have only faced four balls against him in the last couple of games. But ultimately you have got to trust your game and your technique and I felt that the four balls I did face I thought I was picking him okay. So it was more about spending some time out there and trusting the way I play spin. I haven’t faced much of his type of bowling but having a few overs under my belt gave me quite a lot of confidence,” explained Root.
In Saturday’s game, Yadav picked up three wickets but was expensive in conceding 68 runs in his 10 overs. Given his early impact, Yadav is expected to be playing in the Test series as well where Root will have the extra responsibility as captain of the England side. Hence, the innings was important from the preparation for the expected battles in the longer format as well. Root said the Test series is far of his mind as of now but he did want to pick up as many cues of unravelling Kuldeep as he could.
“You are always trying to learn as a player and always trying to pick things up when you next play someone, whether individuals or a team. I don’t think it’s about looking too far forward in terms of Test cricket just yet with the game on Tuesday. For me having not faced a lot of Kuldeep for example it was about picking as many cues up as possible throughout and makes sure I don’t get caught cold in Leeds if I start against spin.
“It might work out if he is in Test squad and it could hold me in good stead. Ultimately it is about making sure when we come to Headingley game we are ready and prepared for that.”
With the series nicely set up for the final game on Tuesday, Root sounded a warning: “That Ruthless side of this one day team came out today and that was something you have seen more and more with this group of guys. Hopefully we can back up and finish the series strong now.”