England captain Joe Root has admitted Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliant bowling bent the Oval Test in India’s favour, and called on his teammates to seek inspiration from the Indian bowler.
“Something we’ve got to get better at is recognising the key moments in games and forcing it a little bit more,” Root said after England’s 157-run loss. “We didn’t quite manage to do it this time. You look at that spell by Bumrah: he recognised a key moment in the game and turned it on its head this afternoon, and we’ve got to make sure we do that as well. It was a wonderful spell that really turned the game – they got the ball reversing nicely and they really took advantage of it.”
Root said despite reaching 30 on eight occasions over two innings, no England player had gone on to play a substantial knock. “If you’re 30 not out, or if you’re thrown the ball, you need to get the bit between your teeth and turn the game by making a big hundred or taking some quick wickets,” he said. “You need to take advantage when conditions are in your favour and turn the game on its head. It’s something we’ve done throughout the series but not consistently enough.”
At lunch on the final day, England were 131 for two chasing a target of 368, only to lose six wickets for 62 runs in the next session. Bumrah lethal spell did most to consign England to defeat. “As soon as the ball started reversing a bit Jasprit said, ‘Just give me the ball,’ and he bowled that six-over spell that completely shifted the game,” said Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Root said England should not have allowed themselves to fall 2-1 behind the series. “Well as India have played, I still feel we should have got something out of this Test match,” he said.
“There’s been a number of periods within the game when I felt we were ahead and had a great chance. To be sat here with nothing to show from the week, it’s frustrating.
“There’s no point trying to sugarcoat it. We should have got something from this game.
“I think it was lost earlier in the game. We should have got a bigger lead first time round with the bat. It would have been nice to have another 100 runs, then we’d be looking at a very different game. Catching, we did put down a few chances. Some were extremely difficult, it has to be said but, if you give chances to world-class players, they take them.”
England have three days to recover for the fifth Test, which starts at Old Trafford on Friday.