|Alastair Cook on way to his 70 not out, on the fourth day of the third Test, in Southampton, on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
Southampton: England batsman Joe Root on Wednesday expressed joy at the “good day” his side experienced and also sounded confident that they can take the remaining six Indian wickets on day five of the third Test here.
Chasing 445 runs, the visitors were placed in a precarious position of 112 for four at stumps on day four.
“It was one of the better days for us. You want to have such days as a team,” said Root.
“We took two early wickets and then Alastair Cook set up the game for us with his fifty in the second innings. He drove the pace down to the tee and we were hoping for one last good session tonight. We wanted a couple wickets before stumps but we got four wickets. We are pleased to make inroads into that top order.”
One of the major criticisms for England after the 95-run loss at Lord’s was that their senior players hadn’t stood up and played irresponsibly. Root said it is heartening to see seniors returning to form.
“It is good to see a lot of guys returning to form. James Anderson took a five-for here, Stuart Broad bowled well, Ian Bell scored a big hundred, Gary Ballance got one too. Cook has got fifties in both innings. Everyone has contributed throughout the game and it has been a good team effort,” said Root.
When asked if this could be the turning point for England’s summer, he said: “Yes I think so. We are obviously in a good position in the game. But we need to take those six wickets. If we can do that, we will be right back in the series.”
Root scored 56 runs (41b, 9x4) to help set up the massive target after the hosts had not enforced the follow-on on India, bowling them out for 330 runs in the morning session.
“I think playing a lot of one-day cricket paid dividends in that sort of situation and I have been involved with the shorter format so that helps. But the main reason we were able to do that was because of Cook’s innings. We were really in good position because we had wickets in hand and that’s ideal for a situation like that,” he said.
England haven’t won a Test match since the Ashes at home last summer. It is a run of ten Test matches now but they finally appear to be on the brink of victory.
“It was one of the best days of Test cricket we have played. But a lot of good work has gone into this. We couldn’t have been in this position without runs from the senior batsmen or our efforts with the ball as well. This good position means nothing if we don’t emerge triumphant tomorrow because we are really hungry to win,” said Root.
“The pitch is starting to give more turn. Moeen Ali could play a big part tomorrow. We just need to put the ball in the right areas and create as much pressure as possible and take those six remaining wickets,” he signed off.
On Tuesday, Stuart Broad had said that he was relieved that the senior players of England have finally succeeded in rising up to the challenge. “t has been a tough summer for us and we were defensive and a bit under the pump. So we just needed to go out and play and it shone through.”
While Root was happy with England's performance, India opener Shikhar Dhawan has admitted that his team is in a tough position and will find it difficult to save the match.
"It is going to be hard for us tomorrow," said Dhawan, who scored 37 runs in the second innings.
"England are in a good position. But we need to have a good partnership and then maybe we can see how it shapes up with the two batsmen in the middle."
Dhawan said it is difficult to bat on the pitch because of wear and tear.