Cricket-India vow to deny red-hot Root fast start at Oval


Cricket - Fourth Test - England Nets - The Oval, London, Britain - September 1, 2021 England's Joe Root during nets Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - India have learnt their lessons against England's in-form captain Joe Root and are determined not to give him freebies early in his knock, bowling coach Bharat Arun said on the eve of the fourth test at Oval from Thursday.

Root smashed three centuries in as many tests and is comfortably the leading scorer in the five-test series which remains level at 1-1.

The England skipper has looked in the form of his life, racking up six test centuries this year and becoming the top-ranked test batsman.

Arun agreed to the suggestion that the otherwise tidy Indian bowlers might have fed an in-form batsman too many loose deliveries early in his knock to make things easy for him.

"You hit the nail on the head," the former India bowler told a virtual news conference on Wednesday.

"We have given him pretty fast starts, and obviously we looked deep into those areas, and we look to stem those."

In contrast, India's own batting was dismal in the third test at Headingley, where the tourists were shot out for 78 en route to an innings defeat.

Arun said their bowlers had time and again defended low totals but were bound to fail occasionally.

"The biggest challenge for the bowlers is to defend low scores and they've done it in the past. I don't think it's fair to pull up the bowlers if they have not done it on one occasion."

Arun said their Headingley capitulation was an aberration and the team knew how to bounce back from such comprehensive defeats.

He recalled India being shot out for 36 in Adelaide and still winning the test series in Australia and their come-from-behind win in a subsequent home series against England this year.

"We have done it in the past and we can take confidence from what we have done in the past. I'm sure you will see a much more spirited performance in the coming test matches."

India have added seamer Prasidh Krishna to their squad but Arun said it was merely a precaution, considering the workload on the frontline bowlers.

England have named all-rounder Moeen Ali as the vice-captain in the absence of wicket-keeper Jos Buttler who misses the match to attend the birth of his second child.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by William Maclean)

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