Joe Root, the England captain, is confident of England’s plans against Virat Kohli, but reminded his men that it was vital that they take every half-chance they create when it comes to the Indian star.
Kohli, the Indian captain, gave his side a good shot at victory in Birmingham in the first Test, where he sculpted a brilliant century and a patient half-century, batting expertly with the Indian lower order. He had look tentative in the first phase of his innings, and was even dropped twice in the English slip cordon, including on 21. But he only grew in confidence after that, powering the Indian first-innings total to just 13 runs behind England’s.
“He is a fine player. When you give the best players in the world some opportunities, they don’t give you more,” acknowledged Root, going on to praise his bowlers for getting him out at a crucial time in their second innings on the fourth morning.
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“We’ve got good plans against him and have found a way to potentially get him out. It’s nice to know that what we’re doing is the right thing, it’s just about taking those opportunities when they come along,” said Root, ahead of the Lord’s Test starting on Thursday, 9 August.
England have announced that Ollie Pope will make his debut in the Lord’s Test, but left the decision of whether to play two spinners for the morning of the match. Given the varying conditions, he stressed on the importance of getting a good start.
“I think that every time you turn up here, the surface can be quite different. Looking at the start of the summer [against Pakistan], we were pretty much below par here.
“Against South Africa [last year], there was quite a lot of spin that came into play and when we played India here previously, spin came into it in the second innings. That might play a big factor – we have to see how the surface looks tomorrow morning,” he said.
“On the last couple of occasions, whoever has played well in the first innings here has managed to contain that for the rest of the game. I think it’s really important that we start well, whatever it is that we do, and try to stay on top if we can.”