Joe Root is hoping England's Test team respond positively amid scrutiny of their behaviour, with the ECB currently investigating several players for historic social media posts.

Ollie Robinson's Test debut at Lord's last week was marred when offensive Twitter posts by the paceman – posted in 2012 and 2013 – were highlighted.

The 27-year-old had an impressive debut on the field in the series-opening draw with New Zealand, but is now suspended while the ECB conduct an investigation.

It has subsequently been reported that posts from several England players across the Test and one-day set-ups are also being looked into.

However, Root is now hoping for a full switch of focus back to the matter at hand, which is England attempting to clinch a series win over the Black Caps at Edgbaston.

"We want to move forward in a really positive way," Root told BBC Sport.

"We've had to face up to some ugly truths this past week or so and there will be challenges moving forward.

"But the group of players we have now is very much committed to moving the game forward, to making it a better place, making it more inclusive and educating ourselves further.

"We're going to have to front up to what has happened, but ultimately we want to move forward in a really positive way, to keep going on this journey we've started of trying to better our sport.

"We will continue to do that because that's how we all feel."

A near-capacity crowd of 17,000 will be allowed at Edgbaston as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, and Root is aiming to put on a show for the spectators, after his team received some criticism for holding out for a draw on the final day at Lord's, rather than attempt to mount a 273-run chase.

"We're all very aware we're in the entertainment business," Root, who wants to dispel any notion of his team being negative, told reporters.

"We all want to be part of those games, those special games that provide that entertainment. They're the ones that you remember.

"The ones that stick in my mind are the World Cup final, Headingley, Cape Town – the ones that go to the wire, they're the ones you remember as a player, and want to have big contributions in.

"I look at the situation we found ourselves in and I still feel we made the right decision [at Lord's]. We've turned up here with an opportunity to win the series, albeit it is not part of the Test championship, but it is a Test match and that means a hell of a lot to the players and the group.

"We're very keen to put in five days of strong cricket this week and win the series. If the opportunities arise, we'll definitely look to be aggressive.

"I don't want us to be considered a negative team who play a boring brand of cricket.

"We have some very exciting players who are capable of some wonderful passages of cricket and hopefully that will come to light this week."

New Zealand's Devon Conway put himself into the record books with a double hundred on his Test debut, though England got themselves back into contention at Lord's.

Mark Wood (3-81) and England debutant Ollie Robinson – who came into the second day on the back of issuing an apology for offensive historic social media posts – managed to wrestle the hosts back into the fray after the tourists closed on 246-3 on Wednesday.

Robinson finished with impressive figures of 4-75 and would have had a five-for on debut if not for Stuart Broad dropping Tim Southee's drive.

Yet the day belonged to Conway, who brought up his 200 with a six before succumbing to a strange run-out in the Black Caps' 378 all out, with England surviving a nervy start to reach the close on 111-2.

Starting the day on 136 not out and, along with Henry Nicholls (61), New Zealand's opener picked up where he left off and, when he hit 154, had surpassed legendary figures WG Grace and Ranji to establish himself as the highest scoring Test debutant on English soil.

Wood delivered in his second over, a bouncer drawing Nicholls into a miscontrolled hook to Robinson, and the paceman soon had his second and third wickets, dismissing BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner either side of Robinson trapping Colin de Grandhomme lbw.

Kyle Jamieson followed to Robinson after lunch as the Black Caps lost a fifth wicket within the space of 29 runs, though Conway trundled on and, amid a late flurry from Neil Wagner, the 29-year-old got his 200 when a top edge soared over the deep square leg boundary.

Conway's record stand came to an end in bizarre circumstances. Joe Root seemed to have let the opportunity for a run-out slip by when he missed the stumps after collecting Ollie Pope's throw, yet England's captain recovered just in time to knock the bails off before Conway made it back.

In reply, England were a wicket down inside four overs. With Southee having an lbw appeal against Rory Burns rightly turned down, Jamieson struck when Dom Sibley (0) was hit on the pads just in line with off stump.

Zak Crawley edged through to Watling as fears of another batting collapse grew, but Burns and Root steadied the ship, reaching unbeaten tallies of 59 and 42 respectively before stumps.

RECORDS TUMBLE FOR CONWAY

There can be no full house just yet at the home of cricket, but the Lord's crowd were treated to a masterclass of an innings by Conway, who became just the second Black Caps batsman, after Matthew Sinclair in 1999, to score 200 on his Test debut, and just the seventh player ever to score a double century on his first appearance in the longest format.

Conway is the oldest player to hit 200 on his Test debut, and his runs accounted for 52.91 per cent of New Zealand's first-innings total.

ROBINSON FALLS JUST SHORT

Wednesday was a difficult day for Robinson, on what should have been a proud moment for the seamer.

He can at least take pride in what was a resilient response, and if not for Broad's dreadful spill from Southee's shot, Robinson would have had a five-for. It would also have matched a unique statistic, as only once previously in Test history have a century and a five-for been recorded by debutants in the same innings, with Harry Graham (107) and Bill Lockwood (6-101) doing so at Lord's in 1893.

Kane Williamson says New Zealand will not be fuelled by the opportunity to gain revenge when they face England at Lord's for the first time since the dramatic Cricket World Cup final.

The Black Caps and England start a two-match Test series at the famous venue on Wednesday.

It is almost two years since England beat New Zealand to win the World Cup for the first time following a tense Super Over in London.

New Zealand captain Williamson is looking forward rather than dwelling on that incredible day, with his side attempting to stretch their longest winning run in the Test format to seven matches at the expense of Joe Root's depleted team.

Asked if the tourists owe England a defeat, Williamson replied: "It was a fantastic game of cricket [the World Cup final] but it's a different side and it's been some time since that day, so our focus is different.

"It's the cricket we want to play as a Test side, there's certainly no thought about owing anybody anything. We were both part of a fantastic game that was decided by largely things outside of both of our teams' control. It was a special game to be a part of but looking forward to the Test here tomorrow."

Williamson added: "The experience was thought of fondly, although it was emotional to a certain extent and at the time to think back and being involved in that match.

"Some of the controversies that surrounded it and drama, all these things that come with tournament cricket and some of the fine margins that we saw in that game. You look back on it fondly and having that match played at a ground like Lord's I suppose just adds to it.

"The guys are really excited to be back here, it's always a pleasure to have the opportunity to play at Lord's and we're looking forward to the next challenge - which is starting tomorrow."

 

Bracey to make debut, Anderson set to equal Cook record

Wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey will make his England debut with both Jos Buttler, who is among several players to be rested after a period of isolation following the early end of the Indian Premier League, and the injured Ben Foakes not available.

Root has named Stuart Broad as his vice-captain for a series that will see the hosts without all-rounder Ben Stokes, absent due to a fractured finger.

Seamer Ollie Robinson will be hoping to get the chance to impress in Test cricket, while Craig Overton is in contention for a recall following an excellent start to the county season for Somerset.

Meanwhile, James Anderson will match Alastair Cook's record of 161 England Test caps if he is named in the side.

 

Black Caps eye long-awaited Lord’s win

New Zealand have won only one Test at Lord's and that was back in July 1999.

England have beaten them eight times at the famous venue, while eight of the previous 17 contests have ended in a draw.

The tourists face India in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl after taking on England twice. They have not won a Test series in England since a 2-1 victory 22 years ago.

 

Key Opta facts

- Williamson needs just 58 runs to become the second-highest run-scorer for the Black Caps in men's Test cricket. Ross Taylor (7,379) and Stephen Fleming (7,172) are the only New Zealanders to manage more than Williamson (7,115) in the format.

- Since the start of 2020, Root has scored 1,258 runs at an average of 54.7 in Tests. His tally of runs is 414 more than any other player during this period.

- Black Caps paceman Kyle Jamieson has a strike rate of 33.3 with the ball in Tests since the start of last year. Only two players (minimum 50 overs bowled) have a better rate in that time (Hasan Ali – 25.8 and Axar Patel – 28.3)

- England have lost only one of their last 10 Tests against New Zealand on home soil (W8, D1); however, that defeat was their most recent meeting (lost by 199 runs at Headingley in May 2015)

James Bracey and Ollie Robinson have been handed their first England Test call-ups, while Craig Overton earns a recall to a 15-man squad.

Chris Silverwood's options have been limited for the two-match home series against New Zealand next month.

Superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes (finger) and fast bowler Jofra Archer (elbow) are both injured, while Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes are all rested after completing a quarantine period following their return home from the postponed Indian Premier League.

It means wicketkeeper-batsman Bracey and seamer Robinson both get the call, rewarded for impressive performances in the early stages of the County Championship season.

Bracey averages 37.30 across his first-class career, but is at an impressive 53 – courtesy of 478 runs – for Gloucestershire so far this season. Robinson, meanwhile, has claimed 29 wickets at just 14 apiece for Sussex.

Both men have already toured with England as reserves in Sri Lanka and India, while they were included in extended groups for the Tests last year against West Indies and Pakistan.

Somerset all-rounder Overton, who has four caps, is set to return to the fold for the first time since the 2019 Ashes.

Head coach Silverwood said: "The summer of Test cricket will be fascinating.

"Playing the top two teams in the world, in New Zealand and India, is perfect preparation for us as we continue to improve and progress towards an Ashes series in Australia at the back end of the year. 

"With several players not available through injury or being rested for the New Zealand series, it is an opportunity for us to reward those who have been on the fringes of England squads over the past 12 months."

Silverwood also provided an update on Stokes, adding: "Ben Stokes is making excellent progress following his fractured left index finger sustained last month in the Indian Premier League.

"If he continues to improve without any impact on his rehabilitation, we could see him return next month for Durham in the Vitality Blast competition.

"We will assess him again towards the end of this month."

Archer had been ruled out on Sunday after a persistent elbow injury flared up again on his return to action for Sussex.

"We need to get this resolved once and for all to give him the best chance of being fully fit as we build up to an intense winter, which will include a T20 World Cup and the Ashes," Silverwood said.

"We need him firing in all formats of the game."


England squad in full:

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.

Joe Root expects England to learn from a Test series defeat to India in which he admits mistakes may have been made with selection.

India hammered the tourists by an innings and 25 runs on day three of the fourth and final match of the series at the Narendra Modi Stadium to secure a 3-1 victory.

The brilliant Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin took five wickets apiece to bowl England out for only 135 in their second innings and secure a place in the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

England face a home series versus India before travelling to Australia for the Ashes in a hectic schedule this year.

Root says there were positives to take from a series they started with such an impressive victory following a 2-0 win in Sri Lanka and expects his side to show a positive response to the defeat.

Asked if the loss could leave any lasting scars, the captain said: "I think first and foremost, time will look after that and it's a great opportunity to play a lot of cricket between now and then. I also think we've got to remember a lot of the good things we've done on this trip.

"To be out for six games and perform excellently in four and still in these last couple of games there have been a lot of things we've done excellently. It has been disappointing and frustrating to finish the series on the low that we have, but we've got to keep looking forward as a team.

"We've got to make sure that we keep working as hard as we are and that's one thing I'm very proud of, the work ethic and willingness to learn and get better in these conditions.

"That's all we can ask for from the guys. Keep looking to upskill themselves, keeping looking to take the experience from these guys and better themselves. As long as we do that we will become a better team.

"I think that's going to be a very important aspect of dealing with what is to come in the next 12 months."

Root accepted England may have got it wrong with some of their selections but there is no point in dwelling on that.

The skipper said: "It's easy to look at selection in hindsight when things haven't gone our way. It's obviously something that will be looked at. At times the wickets may not have played as we thought they would have.

"We might not have read them as well as you would want to, but that is part and parcel of the game and as captain, and as a team you have to take on the chin.

"You have to understand every now and again you are going to make mistakes. It's easy to look back now and say that was the case."

Joe Root says England must not be "scared" about batting on another sharply turning wicket and have no "scars" from back-to-back defeats as they eye a 2-2 Test series draw with India.

The tourists are out of contention to play New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final at Lord's after India responded to a crushing defeat in the first match of the series with two resounding wins.

England can ensure it will be Australia rather than Virat Kohli's side who face the Black Caps if they come out on top in Narendra Modi Stadium in a match that starts on Thursday.

Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have tormented the England batsmen in the previous two matches in Chennai and Ahmedabad, generating huge turn from day one.

England were beaten inside two days in the third Test after been skittled out for 112 and 81, with Kohli stating batsmen had not shown the skill required to contend with the conditions.

India captain Kohli also expressed his frustration over so much talk of the quality of the surfaces, but there have been no complaints from the England camp and Root knows they must raise their game.

The England captain, who gave nothing away over selection, said in a news conference on Wednesday: "I think the most important thing is that we learn all the lessons from the last two Test matches and make sure we're better for it.

"It's important that if we get ourselves in a similar position in the first innings, we really make that count and try and get some scoreboard pressure early on."

Asked about Kohli's comments on England's batting, he said: "I think that as batters, if you don't score runs you will always look at yourselves, you will always look at ways to try to improve and we've certainly done that.

"We've looked at a couple of dismissals, we've look at how we are going to find ways of building big partnerships and getting some significant scores if it is a similar surface, figuring out a game plan that suits each individual and in turn get those partnerships which we know is so important in Test cricket."

He added: "I think the most important thing is that as a batting group we are very clear about how we want to play, and we go into the game full of confidence.

"We have no scars from the last two Tests, and we play in a controlled, but fearless way. We shouldn't be scared about the surface in any sort of way or the guys bowling on it.

"It's very important we stay very calm, clear about how we want to score runs and trust both defence and when we want to score as well, trust those shots that make us the players we are."

Root revealed assistant coach Paul Collingwood and another member of the backroom team have been suffering from illness, but the players were not affected ahead of a Test for which Dom Bess is expected to be recalled.

India will hope England fail another trial by spin at the Narendra Modi Stadium when Virat Kohli's side attempt to secure their place in the ICC World Test Championship final.

The tourists won the first match of the series, but back-to-back victories have ended their hopes of facing New Zealand in another final at Lord's.

In-form India only need to avoid defeat in a fourth and final match of the series, which starts in Ahmedabad on Thursday, with Australia hoping England salvage a 2-2 draw to set up a trans-Tasman showdown.

India won the third Test at the same venue by 10 wickets inside two days to take a 2-1 lead, as England were unable to contend with huge turn generated by the spinners on a much-discussed playing surface.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel wrought havoc to put the side who sit second in the rankings on the verge of the final in London.

Root not thinking of Australia

Of course, the situation in the series leaves England in the unusual position of trying to do old rivals Australia a favour.

"I wouldn’t see it as that. I would see it as us ending the series as a draw and having done something special in India," captain Joe Root told reporters.

"Ultimately it is about not having any baggage going into this game. [Winning] would be a monumental effort from this group of players."

 

Rahane: India planning to turn the screw

England have kept quiet about the standard of the pitches in the second and third Tests, concentrating on trying to learn from their struggles in such tough conditions.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane says the tourists can expect more of the same.

"The wicket will be similar to the third Test match and also the second Test in Chennai. Spinning track." the batsman said.

He added: "Talk [about the pitch] happening outside is not at all affecting Indian team. We are concentrating on what we have to do. When we tour we never complain about a pitch."

England to save their Bess for last?

The tourists went with just one frontline spinner in the third Test, with Jack Leach getting the nod ahead of Dom Bess.

Root showed he possibly ought to be more than just a part-time bowler, claiming a stunning maiden five-wicket Test haul with incredible figures of 5-8 as India collapsed to 145 in their first innings.

Bess could join Leach in the team for the last match of the series, having taken five wickets in a first Test that England won by 227 runs and impressed in Sri Lanka.

 

Key match facts

- India are yet to lose a Test at Narendra Modi Stadium versus England (W2, D1). They have only been beaten twice on the ground in the longest format, winning five and drawing six.

- England have failed to post totals of more than 178 in five of their six innings in the series. The 193 they made combined in two innings in the third Test is the fourth-fewest they have mustered in a Test match when they were bowled out in both knocks.

- Root has only been out twice when playing a conventional or reverse sweep since the start of the Sri Lanka Test tour, scoring 233 runs in the process. The other England batsmen have recorded 206 runs between them over the same period, being dismissed on 12 occasions when deploying those strokes.

- James Anderson has gone 454 deliveries without dismissing Virat Kohli in Test cricket; the India skipper has been dropped three times off his bowling in that time.

- Ashwin has dismissed Ben Stokes on 11 occasions in the longest format, almost twice the number of any other bowler The England all-rounder only averages 18 against the India spinner.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel once again bamboozled England as India secured a 10-wicket victory in the third Test inside two days.

Thursday's action in the day-night contest was eventful to say the least, 17 wickets falling before Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill saw the hosts to their target of 49 runs in the final session under the floodlights. 

India had also started proceedings at the crease, losing their final seven wickets for 41 as they slipped from 99-3 to 145 all out, Joe Root's maiden five-wicket haul seemingly putting the game back in the balance. 

However, the metronomic Axar struck early and often as India seized control through their spinners. The left-armer dismissed both Zak Crawley and Johnny Bairstow for ducks in his first over of the innings as he picked up 5-32, giving him stunning match figures of 11-70.  

Not to be outdone, Ashwin worked his magic once more to end with 4-48. In the process he surpassed 400 Test wickets, a feat only achieved by three other bowlers for India. 

The efforts of the duo – fellow spinner Washington Sundar also claimed the final wicket of the innings – saw England skittled for 81 in 30.4 overs, their lowest total against India in the format. 

Root – who had done so much to give his team hope in the opening session with 5-8 – battled hard to make 19 and, briefly, his partnership with Ben Stokes (25) suggested India may have more work to do in the final innings on a difficult surface. 

Yet Ashwin crucially ended Stokes' counter-attacking knock and, having also bowled Ollie Pope (12), he reached his personal landmark when Jofra Archer was out lbw for a two-ball duck. In truth, England's tail had little hope of increasing their lead to give their own spinners any hope.

Rohit and Gill rushed the home team over the finishing line, the openers ending unbeaten on 25 and 15 respectively as India moved 2-1 ahead in the series with one Test to play.


Ashwin latest to join 400 club 

Ashwin is just the 16th bowler to claim 400 Test wickets, doing so in his 77th appearance. His compatriots Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble – who sits in top spot on India's all-time list on 619 – and Harbhajan Singh have previously made it to the milestone.

Only Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan made to that number in fewer games than Ashwin, who now has 24 wickets in the series at an average of 15.70.

Tourists left in a spin

Thanks to a double century from skipper Root, England scored 578 in their first innings in the series. It was a mammoth total that set them up to secure an impressive victory in Chennai. 

Since then, though, the visitors have amassed 669 runs in five innings combined, their best score in that period being 164. Facing a trial by spin, they have been condemned to a pair of heavy defeats that ends their hope of competing in the World Test Championship final on home soil.

Captain Joe Root was England's unlikely star with the ball, claiming his first five-wicket haul as India were bowled out for 145 in the third Test. 

After managing just 112 in their first innings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the tourists needed quick wickets on day two to stay in the contest, India resuming their reply on 99-3. 

The hosts moved their score on to 114 without further loss in the first session, only to then endure a stunning collapse of their own, their last seven wickets falling for 41 runs.

Root grabbed the majority of them to finish with stunning figures of 5-8. His previous best in first-class cricket was 4-5, while he had also claimed a four-wicket haul in his Test career, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in January 2020. 

His off-spin found help on a turning surface as he conceded the fewest runs in a Test five-wicket haul for an England player since Arthur Gilligan's 6-7, South Africa the opponents back in 1924.

It was also the first five-for by an England captain since Bob Willis' 5-35 against New Zealand in 1983.

Jack Leach backed up his skipper with 4-54 as India were restricted to a 33-run lead after both teams had batted once in the game, with the four-match series in the balance at 1-1.

England captain Joe Root feels fortunate to have a "battery of fast bowlers" and says both James Anderson and Stuart Broad could play in the third Test against India.

The tourists have adopted a rotation policy in Sri Lanka and India at the start of a year in which they face such a hectic schedule.

Anderson was outstanding in England's victory in the first Test at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, but missed out as Broad came into the side for a second match at the same venue in Chennai that was comprehensively won by India.

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson is expected to return along with Jofra Archer for the day-night Test at Motera Stadium, which starts on Wednesday, while Broad will be hoping to retain his place.

Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are also in contention to charge in with the pink ball in Ahmedabad, where England need a win to keep alive their hopes of playing New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final.

Root refused to be drawn on the make-up of the side and did not rule out unleashing Anderson and Broad for the first time this winter, with England mulling over whether to go with an extra seamer and just one spinner.

Asked if Anderson and Broad may have played in the same team for the last time, Root said: "I think you'd be wrong to ever write off those two to do anything.

"The records they've had, the things they have produced - especially in the last couple of years - there's a reason they are up there with the top three bowlers in the world.

"They are consistently getting better the older they get, they are using their experience to their advantage all of the time and I'm sure there will be opportunities where they get to play together in the near future and much further down the line as well.

"You are talking about two of England's greatest bowlers and the records they set will be difficult for anyone to pass. I feel like there is a lot of life left in them both and you add in guys like Jofra, Woody, Woakes, all of these skilful bowlers around them, we are building a very good team, that they are very much at the front of."

Root added: "They [Anderson and Broad] have got a chance, it's a great selection headache to have all these bowlers putting in performances and giving us real variety so we feel we can pick a team that best suits the conditions and the best make-up we think is going to balance things very well."

Archer was not risked for the second Test due to a shoulder problem but Root says the paceman is fully fit and raring to go.

"He's a world-class performer, he's got all of the skills. He can bowl high pace, swing it both ways and obviously can make it talk off the seam," said the skipper.

"Along with the rest of the guys in contention, it's a very exciting place to be. To have a battery of fast bowlers to choose from is where we want to be and keep improving moving forward."

The fit-again Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow will also be hoping to get the nod.

Joe Root said England will aim to exploit any self-doubt from India's 36 all-out collapse in their last pink-ball outing as the third Test gets under way on Wednesday.

India claimed a 2-1 series win on the road against Australia in January but were beaten in the opener, falling to their record low score in just 21.2 overs in their second innings.

India quickly recovered from that humiliation, and the hosts also bounced back from an opening Test loss to England to tie this series at 1-1 ahead of the third test in Ahmedabad.

Root, who earned man-of-the-match honours in the series opener after scoring a double-century in his 100th Test, hinted India's nightmare in Adelaide may play on the minds of the hosts when under the lights.

"If we can exploit that [events in Adelaide] then that's something we will look to do," Root said.

"But you have to earn the right, make early inroads, build pressure for periods of time and put balls in good areas, challenging defences.

"That will be our focus; [36 all out] is more for them to worry about, for it to be in the back of their minds."

The 30-year-old insists the tourists are in a strong position with the series tied heading into a day-night Test in the world's largest cricket venue, Sardar Patel Stadium.

In India's only previous home day-night Test, against Bangladesh in Kolkata in 2019, seam bowlers dominated and Root is hoping that similar conditions this week could play into England's advantage.

"We are 1-1 with a pink-ball game two days away," Root added. "It's a great position to be in from our perspective. It's a very exciting prospect for the group.

"Playing against India in the subcontinent you expect the ball to spin and I'm sure at some point it will.

"But if conditions are more seam-orientated, then the experience of growing up in English conditions should be in our favour.

"It's about handling those conditions as best we can and try to exploit them with ball in hand."

Moeen Ali has decided to return to England following the second Test against India, with Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow joining the team for the next match.

After England succumbed to a 317-run loss to India on day four of the second Test in Chennai, captain Joe Root announced Moeen had chosen to leave the bubble.

Moeen was part of the squad for the two Tests against Sri Lanka in January but did not play after spending 13 days in quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test.

The all-rounder sat out the first match against India at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium but returned for the second and took eight wickets – four in each innings – on his return from an 18-month absence in the longest format.

Moeen also added an 18-ball 43 that included five maximums as England failed to hold on for a draw or chase down a victory target of 482, with India levelling the series at 1-1.

"It was not about asking him if he wanted to stay. It was a decision he chose," said Root.

"He wants to get out the bubble and that is absolutely fair enough. We respect where he is at."

England lost all 10 wickets to spin in their second innings and were bowled out for 164 on Tuesday, with Axar Patel claiming a debut five-for and Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored a second-innings century, taking his haul of wickets in the match to eight.

The tourists resumed on 53-3 but lost four wickets in the opening session and saw Root depart five balls after lunch, with Moeen's late flurry coming before the inevitable defeat.

"Credit has to go to India. They outplayed us in all three departments. We got a bit of an education," said England skipper Root.

"We have got to learn. These are the conditions you sometimes come up against. We have got to find a way to score in these conditions and take wickets.

"I think we would like to have bowled slightly better on the first day, find ways of bowling pressure, bowling six balls at one batter and just didn’t quite manage to do that, something I think we can get right in the future.

"We are 1-1 in the series with two important games to come. We are very much in this series. It is set up very nicely."

The third Test will be a day-night match in Ahmedabad and is scheduled to get under way on February 24.

Asked if he would look to rotate the team for that game, Root told Channel 4: "It's a difficult time in that respect but we have to manage the best we can.

"You look at the side you put out, there is no question they are a talented bunch of players. Questions will be asked about resting Jimmy Anderson but we replaced him with the number two bowler in the world [Stuart Broad].

"It is very tricky, players are spending long days away from their families, the fact of the matter is we've been outplayed on a wicket which has spun and is very foreign to our batting line-up.

"We've got a period now to have some honest discussions and ask how we're going to manage things. We won't beat ourselves up too much, won't get ahead of ourselves, we'll come back and be fighting for the rest of the series."

 

England squad for third Test against India: Joe Root, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Joe Root urged Dom Bess to find consistency after he was left out of the England squad for the second Test against India.

The tourists have opted for a new-look bowling attack in the second meeting at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, despite winning the opening match of the series by 227 runs at the same venue.

Bess drops out of the reckoning, with James Anderson and the injured Jofra Archer also missing out, paving the way for Stuart Broad to come back in and Moeen Ali to return.

Having taken five wickets in the four-match series opener and scored 59 runs with the bat, Bess was offered some words of advice by captain Root.

"It wasn't an easy decision; Dom's contributed fantastically well in these three games and has made a real impact," Root said.

"With him missing out, the message for him is to keep working at that consistency of his game, delivering that skill time and time again. We talk about building pressure over long periods of time and I think, as well as he has done, that is one area that he can improve on.

"But he is very young, very much at the start of things and this doesn't mean that he is going to be pushed back down the pecking order.

"It gives him an opportunity to step out of Test cricket, the harshest of environments, especially in these conditions against a team that plays spin so well, to take stock and work at his game.

"It gives Moeen a chance to come back into things, with all his experience. He's someone who is bowling very well in practice.

"It was a very difficult decision to make, I'm sure Bessy will be frustrated about it but that's good as well. You want that competition for places, you want guys to be playing all the time and be amongst it all

"That's certainly how he goes about his cricket. He's a wholehearted player and I expect a response from him."

Root is certainly well placed to talk about consistency, having once again underlined his brilliance last time out when he clocked up a first-innings double century in his 100th Test appearance to continue riding the wave of his fine showing against Sri Lanka.

The 30-year-old has piled on 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. 

Fans hoping to see the Yorkshireman showcasing his skills in the Indian Premier League will once again be disappointed this year, but Root does want to get involved in the future.

"It was a very difficult decision," he said regarding his decision not to register. 

"At some point in my career I'm desperate to try and be part of an IPL season and hopefully a few more beyond that as well.

"It's something I'd love to experience and love to be a part of, but with the amount of cricket – and Test cricket in particular – this year, I didn’t feel like it was the right time.

"I didn’t feel like I could throw all my energy into it, which I think it deserves. And I don’t think it would set English cricket up best with what's to come.

"It's a very difficult decision and hopefully next year there's an opportunity to be a part of the IPL."

The atmosphere at games is one of the IPL's most appealing qualities and the famously vociferous India fans will have a chance to make themselves heard in the second Test, with 15,000 allowed in.

Asked if he thinks it will change the dynamic of the contest, Root said: "Yes, I do. I think it will improve it massively

"I think having an atmosphere within a stadium is a massive part of international cricket.

"What makes it special, in many ways, is that interaction between the fans and the players. It makes those big moments, that noise and the build-up… it adds to it all

"Obviously, we know how passionate India is about cricket. It's a big part of life in many ways here and we're all excited about that.

"We want to be playing on the biggest stage in front of people. We're looking forward to that atmosphere and it's going to add to what has already started off as a brilliant series for us."

England will have a new-look bowling attack on duty for the second Test as they go up against an India side determined to bounce back in the series.

James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Dom Bess were all part of the XI that helped England become the first visiting nation to win a Test at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai since Pakistan in 1999, ending an eight-game unbeaten streak for the hosts.

However, none of the trio will be involved when the two teams face each other again at the same venue.

While Archer is ruled out with an elbow injury, Anderson has been rested and Bess left out of a 12-man squad. Stuart Broad seems certain to play, with the other seam-bowling spot between Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. Moeen Ali will be the second spinner; the all-rounder has not featured in Test cricket since August 2019.

Captain Joe Root admitted it was not an easy decision to give Anderson a break considering how well he performed in the opener, but England had to look at the bigger picture during such a busy year.

"Everyone's heart was in favour of him being available for this game but also you have to look at the bigger picture and ideally if he is available for two of the last three, that is a huge asset for us with the way he is bowling and his reputation, as well as his numbers and the way he has performed in recent games," Root told the media.

India, meanwhile, head into this match under pressure; they have only ever lost the first two games of a home Test series against England once previously, when they went on to suffer a 3-1 defeat in 1976-77.

Virat Kohli pointed to a failure by the bowling unit to keep England's scoring rate in check in the aftermath of the opening defeat, with slow-bowling duo Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem struggling to provide support for pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, as well as frontline spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

Axar Patel missed that match due to a knee injury but came through a fitness test on Thursday. Kuldeep Yadav could also get an opportunity on a pitch that, according to Ajinkya Rahane, will spin from the outset.

"I am sure it will turn from day one," Rahane said on the eve of the game. "We will have to wait and see how it behaves in the first session and take it from there."

In a boost for India, there will be fans present for the second of four matches in the series. The ground is allowed to be 50 per cent full, though there will be social distancing measures in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Captain Kohli in the spotlight

India have now lost four Tests in a row under Kohli, who departed the tour of Australia after his side had been shot out for 36 to lose the series opener in Adelaide. He returned home for the birth of his first child, with stand-in Rahane then leading the side to a 2-1 triumph.

Kohli made scores of 11 and 72 upon his return to the XI, but those numbers were not enough to stop him slipping to fifth in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings for batsmen.

Root keeps on digging in

Root underpinned England's triumph last time out with a double hundred in a mammoth first innings of 578, in the process continuing his stunning run of form following on from a hugely successful tour to Sri Lanka.

The right-handed batsman has managed 684 runs in his previous three matches, which equates to 39 per cent of his side's total runs in Test cricket in 2021. There have been useful contributions from his top-order colleagues so far overseas, but no other batsman has reached three figures in an innings during the calendar year.

Key match facts

- England have only managed to register one Test series win in India since their 2-1 tour win in 1984-85 - their successful tour in 2012 being the solitary triumph during that period (D1 L4).
- India still lead the head-to-head record with England in Tests played at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, winning five compared to the visitors' tally of four after the series opener (D1).
- England have managed to record six overseas Test wins in succession ahead of this match – victory in this game will equal their longest ever run in the format (seven in a row between 1911 and 1914).
- Rishabh Pant has a batting strike rate of 70.6 in Test cricket, only two men (with a minimum of 600 runs scored) have higher rates for India (Virender Sehwag at 82, plus Kapil Dev at 81)
- Broad (517) is three scalps away from going into sixth place on the all-time leading Test wicket-takers list, jumping above Courtney Walsh (519); the Englishman has picked up 41 wickets at an average of 14.5 since the start of 2020.

England have named Liam Livingstone in a 16-man squad for the Twenty20 series against India in March, but Test captain Joe Root and Alex Hales were not included.

Livingstone has not played international cricket since June 2017, when he scored 16 runs in a pair of T20 appearances against South Africa on English soil.

However, the 27-year-old was part of the group for the one-day series at home to Ireland last year, as well as the tour to South Africa that was cut short in December due to coronavirus concerns.

His selection comes after an impressive Big Bash tournament in Australia, though Hales – who finished as the competition's leading scorer, managing 543 at a strike-rate of 161.60 for Sydney Thunder – continues to be overlooked by the national selectors.

Root is also not included for the five-match series that offers Eoin Morgan's side further opportunities to prepare ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which takes place in India during October and November.

Jos Buttler – who has returned home for a scheduled break after helping England win the first Test against India in Chennai – will travel back for the white-ball games.

As well as the players in the squad, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Jake Ball and Matt Parkinson as reserves. The party will depart on February 26, with all games to be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.


England T20 squad for the tour to India: 

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Reserves: Jake Ball, Matt Parkinson.

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