Mumbai: Joe Root may be facing stiff competition from Virat Kohli as the best modern day batsman, but that didn’t stop from the Englishman from wholeheartedly praising the India Test skipper, who scored an unbeaten 147, and also lauding opener Murali Vijay for his century (136).
“Both deserved the scores they got. They played very well. Both have a good balance between defence and attack and on a wicket like this and the sort of form they were in, it is difficult to bowl to them,” said Root, after India ended Day Three on 451/ 7, ahead by 51 runs on Saturday.
“He (Virat) is very ambitious, driven and emotional. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I can’t say that he is intimidating but it is good to play against such a player as it brings out the best in me as well,” he added.
Root admitted England made a judgement error in reading the pitch and should have selected an extra spinner instead of blooding in an ineffective seamer to the team on a track known to turn.
“In hindsight, we would have liked to play another spinner but we have to look forward and not think about things which are out of our hands. We thought there was a bit more for seamers. But the nature of this wicket and surface is different,” said Root.
The Yorkshireman believed England should have grabbed the half-chances that came their way, but refused to criticise Adil Rashid, who dropped Kohli on 68, instead urging his co-batsmen to play positively in their second innings.
“It was quite frustrating that we couldn’t take wickets at the back end there. It just proves that when you create those half-chances, you got to take them. The most important thing is that we look forward, look to tomorrow and we take those three early wickets when we get thoseopportunities. It will be silly now to look back at today and think what chances slipped through,” said Root.
“Rashid put down a very difficult catch on the follow through. I can’t blame him. It was a marginal half chance, at best. “When it comes to batting, we will look to put pressure back on them and be positive just like we were in the first innings. If we can do that well, then we have got a really good game on our hands,” he added.
Root, who also contributed two wickets with his right arm slow off-break at a crucial phase of proceedings on Saturday, shot down talk of taking over captaincy from Alastair Cook.
“Cooky is doing a fine job and it is important to think about levelling the series. I will have to think about it (the captaincy) when that happens,” the 25-year-old added.