Root tells England not be bogged down by surface tension


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - England v Pakistan - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - August 25, 2020 England's Joe Root celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Asad Shafiq, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Alastair Grant/Pool via REUTERS

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - England captain Joe Root has demanded fearless cricket from his team in the final test against India, saying they should not be scared of the surface in what is expected to be another spin-dominated contest in Ahmedabad from Thursday.

England were beaten inside two days at the same Narendra Modi stadium last week in what was the shortest completed test match since 1935.

Spinners from both sides claimed 28 of the 30 wickets that tumbled in five sessions as England managed 81, their lowest ever total against India, in the second innings.

Root said the batsmen have a clear gameplan as they seek to level the four-test series.

"As a batting group, we're very clear about how we want to play," Root told a video conference on Wednesday.

"We're going into the game full of confidence, we have no scars from the last two (defeats)."

"We shouldn't be scared of the surface any sort of way, or about the guys bowling on it."

England have analysed some of the dismissals and discussed ways to build significant partnership on what looks a "very similar wicket", Root said.

India's spin duo of Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin shared 18 wickets between them on that turning track, while Root himself claimed his maiden five-wicket haul with his gentle off-spin.

Root wanted English batsmen to find a balance between caution and aggression in the do-or-die contest.

"It's that balance between being really calm and in control of what you're trying to do, and clear about where you're going to score your runs," he said.

"I'd hate to see the guys go out there, look nervous, not trust themselves, not trust their own games, because they're very good players, and they can play.

"I hate for us to just sit in a bunker the whole time, and just try and fend our way through.

"We have to be very clear about where we're going to rotate strike, where we're going to score our boundaries, because ultimately that's what batting is about, it's about scoring more runs than the opposition."

Off-spinner Dom Bess, who claimed five wickets in England's comprehensive victory in the series-opener, is likely to return for the final test.

"He's certainly up for selection," Root said, without revealing the playing XI.

"He's been training really well, he's used the time out to work on a few things."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge)

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