|Joe Root after England’s practice session, on Wednesday
London: The spat between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja actually helped to sustain England after their defeat at Lord’s and then to revive them.
According to Joe Root, the affair, which dragged on across the three Test matches, made the team determined not only to stay united but also to strike a counter blow that may help explain why they are now 2-1 up with the final Test starting at The Oval on Friday.
“It gave us another incentive to want to throw a punch back at them,” Root said. “We’ve stayed really tight as a side even when we were struggling at Lord’s, but that incident did make us slightly tighter... It fired us up and we didn’t let it affect us.”
It certainly seemed to inspire Anderson while simultaneously flooring Jadeja, judging from the different arcs in their performances.
England have also upped their game to the point where the series, if not yet won, cannot be lost.
“It is exciting,” Root said. “We’ve not been in this position for a while with the opportunity to win a series. We will really try to nail down what has been a good little bit of form in the last two games.
“If we can make it three wins, that will be great.”
Stuart Broad was one of the principal architects of the last win at Old Trafford, where he took six wickets in the first innings before sustaining a broken nose off a bouncer from Varun Aaron.
With England’s medical staff finding no clinical reason for Broad not to play on Friday, speculation remains as to what will be required to ease any apprehension he may have after such a nasty blow. Initially, the talk was of him wearing a mask, but that appears to have given way to a splint, although nobody, not even Broad, can be sure what will be best until the swelling is assessed on Thursday.
“It’s not very pretty,” Root said, assessing his teammate. “He’s not got his ‘boy-band’ looks you would normally associate with Stuart. But he’s milking it, definitely, as you’ll probably have seen on all the social network sites.
“But I’m sure he’ll be desperate to play this Test. He’s obviously in good form and he will want to finish the series strongly with the rest of us.”
Broad did not practise on Wednesday, though nets two days before the match at this stage of the series are voluntary.
Ishant Sharma looks set to play in the final Test. India have missed his aggressive brand of bowling and Ishant, along with Aaron could give Alastair Cook and his team, who are not exactly coping well with the short ball, the hurry up.
“That [the short ball] will be one area a lot of the lads will be working on,” Root said. “We’re definitely not going to take India lightly.
“We know they’re going to come very hard at us, and we’ll be making sure we do everything we can to get our minds right for Friday.”
Root had his own problems against the bouncer in Australia but an average of 78 this summer, having dropped to No. 5, suggests he has overcome his problems.
“It’s always nice to get runs after you’ve struggled a little bit,” Root said. “If anything, that winter put things in perspective for me.
“When you get yourself in, you want to make sure you go and make big scores. A lot of people have taken that attitude over this summer and it’s shown.
“We needed to do that after Lord’s where it obviously wasn't a very good performance as a team. But I think we've made an exceptional turnaround.
“The key now is to go into Friday and continue doing so, to build on what we've done so far and remember this is just the start of where we want to be. We can’t rest on just two Test wins, we have to capitalise on what we’ve started and really cement what we have done to take this series home.”
Root also hopes Anderson will continue with his present form and breathe fire at The Oval as well. “He’s been exceptional for us and we’re going to need him to be exactly the same over this next game.”