Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CLOUGH SPORTS RE­PORTER ■ Email: ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

JOE ROOT rates Eng­land’s se­ries vic­tory over world No 1 op­po­nents In­dia as his best cam­paign so far as Test cap­tain.

Root, who be­gan his ten­ure with home wins over South Africa and West Indies be­fore a mis­er­able Ashes win­ter, iden­ti­fies a new spring­board for suc­cess in Eng­land’s bat­tle for supremacy against In­dia.

The York­shire­man de­scribed his team as a cap­tain’s “de­light” af­ter they de­fended 245 on the fourth day of the fourth Spec­savers Test to pre­vail by 60 runs as Moeen Ali (4-71) broke In­dia’s re­sis­tance to take an unas­sail­able 3-1 lead with just the one match to play.

As well as Moeen’s nine-wicket match haul, this was a con­test no­table for Root’s in­sis­tence on day three that he would drop down again from three to his favoured No 4 bat­ting po­si­tion.

It all worked out in the end – and asked if it was his best se­ries as cap­tain, Root said: “Yes, I think it prob­a­bly has been.

“I feel like I’ve had quite a big in­put into what’s been go­ing on, felt very (much) in con­trol of things – and I’ve got a real clear vi­sion of how I see us im­prov­ing long term.

“We’ve got some guys who are very will­ing to buy into that, and are very re­al­is­tic and un­der­stand­ing of where we cur­rently are and where we could re­ally get to down the line.”

Vi­rat Kohli’s In­dia have made it a ti­tanic strug­gle, and Root’s op­po­site num­ber was at it again as he and Ajinkya Ra­hane both dug in for half-cen­turies and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 101 in their at­tempts to square the se­ries at 2-2.

Moeen even­tu­ally dis­missed both, though, and Root added: “I hope it’s a big step in the right di­rec­tion for us, and we can go from strength to strength.

“When you have that un­der­stand­ing across the board, and there’s no self­ish peo­ple within a team, it makes things very easy in­deed.

“For us to be in that po­si­tion and to have a group of play­ers who play in that man­ner is a de­light as a cap­tain.”

He kept the faith through­out that Eng­land could de­fend their to­tal on what ev­ery­one con­sid­ered to be a wear­ing pitch.

“I was fairly con­fi­dent that if we bowled to our po­ten­tial ... then we’d have enough in the bank to get across the line,” added the York­shire­man.

“The big­gest chal­lenge for us was if we could stay calm and col­lected and trust that if we stuck to what we wanted to do for long pe­ri­ods of time the wicket would do the rest for us.

Moeen was cen­tral to Eng- land’s ef­forts, in his first match since be­ing dropped af­ter a mis­er­able Ashes se­ries in what was a poor win­ter all-round for the Worces­ter­shire all-rounder.

“He’s been bril­liant,” added Root.

“I couldn’t be more pleased for him.

“He’s such a big part of this team, and I think that’s go­ing to be the case mov­ing for­ward.”

Eng­land’s spe­cial­ist bats­men have had a mea­gre sum­mer, but Root in­sists there are mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors.

“You’ve also got to be re­al­is­tic about the con­di­tions we’ve been play­ing in,” he said.

“I thought af­ter be­ing 80-6 on day one, to then go out and play in dif­fer­ent but still dif­fi­cult condi- tions in the sec­ond in­nings – and go about things how we did – was a start to a re­ally sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.”

Kohli must come to terms with de­feat, al­beit by nar­row mar­gins both here and at Edg­bas­ton last month.

He said: “We can look at the score­board and say we were only 30 runs away or 50 runs away, but we have to recog­nise that when we are in the midst of the sit­u­a­tion, and not later.

“When you come so close, there is an art of cross­ing the line as well, which we will have to learn.”

When there’s no self­ish peo­ple within a team it makes things easy. Joe Root on how he is en­joy­ing coach­ing the cur­rent Eng­land Test team

Says his team’s se­ries win over world No 1 team In­dia rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant step.

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