Joe Root urges blundering England colleagues to learn from Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes ahead of Fourth Test against India

JOE ROOT has told his blundering batsmen to take a damn hard look at the way Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes played.

Captain Root is exasperated by the regular failures of England’s top-order – and nominates the pair as gleaming examples of how to bat in Test cricket.

 Joe Root is concerned at the failings of England's top order

AP:Associated Press
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Joe Root is concerned at the failings of England's top order

You might not expect big-hitting white ball sensation Buttler and bash street kid Stokes to be held up as models of restraint and self-denial.

But Root says their watchful partnership of 169 in 57 overs on Tuesday should be the template for how all England batsmen operate in the five-day game.

The stand between Buttler and Stokes was not sufficient to save England from a 203-run defeat in the Third Test but it extended the game into day five. Just. It took India ten minutes to take the final wicket yesterday.

England were doomed once they lost all ten wickers in a single session on day two – the third time it has happened in less than two years.

 England's top order were taken apart by India

Getty – Contributor
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England's top order were taken apart by India
 Ben Stokes helped Jos Buttler reach a maiden Test century

PA:Press Association
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Ben Stokes helped Jos Buttler reach a maiden Test century

Since the start of 2016, England have lost four wickets or more before passing 100 in 31 out of 62 innings. It is a deep-seated malaise.

Root said: “That partnership between Jos and Ben was a great example and lesson to the batting group of how to go about things in Test cricket.

“There were two guys who are generally very attack-minded adapting to a situation in bowler-friendly conditions. They found a way to build a strong partnership and put India’s bowlers under pressure.

“We have to learn from that and look at how we can tailor our games to play in the same sort of manner.”

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Root and head coach Trevor Bayliss conducted a dressing-room inquest on Sunday evening into the batting debacle.

The skipper added: “We spoke honestly about how we’re going to get this right. It’s happened a couple of times and it’s not good enough. That first innings was very poor.”

With Jonny Bairstow expected to play as a batsman in next week’s Fourth Test in Southampton but not keep wicket, England could be forced into a re-shuffle.

Jos Buttler would take the gloves and that move could be permanent with Bairstow becoming the regular No4 and new boy Ollie Pope dropping down the order.

 Ben Stokes proved he is far more than just a slogger with a superb innings

Reuters
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Ben Stokes proved he is far more than just a slogger with a superb innings

If Bairstow has not recovered from his cracked finger, Hampshire’s James Vince or Moeen Ali would be in the frame to play.

It appears certain ex-skipper Alastair Cook will keep his place and Keaton Jennings is likely to be given another opportunity, even though he is short of runs, has a stiff technique and is dropping catches.

Root explained:  “We’ll have to see how Jonny’s finger settles down in the next few days. He’s a world-class batter in good form and would warrant his place as a batter. In terms of keeping, we’re fortunate to have Jos in the team already.”

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India’s batsmen adapted to the swinging conditions better and their bowlers showed more pace and penetration than England’s. And their catching was at a different level.

Even though England still lead the series 2-1, the momentum is with India. Captain Virat Kohli believes his team can make history and follow Australia against England in 1936-37 by becoming only the second to win 3-2 after being 0-2 down.

Kohli insisted: “We definitely believe we can if we play like this. Some people may have lost hope when we were 2-0 down but we never lost belief in the changing-room.”

 

JOE ROOT has told his blundering batsmen to take a damn hard look at the way Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes played.