India tour a great learning curve, says England's Crawley

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - England v Pakistan - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - August 25, 2020 England's Zak Crawley after the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Mike Hewitt/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - England opener Zak Crawley believes the tour of India has been a great lesson for young players on handling external pressure as they look to cement their test spots in difficult batting conditions.

The surface at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium - which is also the venue for the fourth test beginning on Thursday - came under considerable scrutiny following England's 10-wicket defeat by India inside two days in the third test.

Former players and pundits have also questioned England's approach against spin bowling but Crawley said staying away from the online chatter has allowed him to focus on the task ahead.

"It's a great learning curve, not just the on-field stuff but the off-field stuff," Crawley, who was one of England's few bright sparks in the third test with his first innings half-century, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate I don't have social media but I've heard from a few of the lads who do that quite a bit was said about that game.

"That's one of the biggest differences to county cricket, dealing with exterior pressure people put on you and that you put on yourself because you want to do well."

The tourists have struggled against India's spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel, who have claimed 33 wickets across the last two matches, with England recording miserly totals of 134, 164, 112 and 81.

Although England's hopes of making the World Test Championship final ended with the defeat last week, Crawley said victory in the final test to square the series 2-2 would still represent a successful trip for the visitors.

"There's definitely a way back, we've already won one and we're only one game down," the 23-year-old said. "It's going to require a good first-innings lead and that needs us to bat really well.

"It's an unbelievable winter if we can pull off four out of six Test matches (following a 2-0 win in Sri Lanka)."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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