After England dominated India in the third Test in Leeds to draw 1-1 level in the series, Joe Root stated that he very well knows that his team is capable of performances like this. He also lauded England's veteran pacer James Anderson and said he keeps churning out such remarkable displays.
After going winless in the last seven Tests in the lead up to the third game at Headingley, England were under immense pressure and needed a big turnaround to change their fortunes. And on back of James Anderson's early breakthroughs on the opening day, a depleted English bowling attack laid bare India's brittle middle-order to skittle them out for a meagre 78. They followed it up with their best batting display yet in the ongoing series, with the openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, and one-drop Dawid Malan notching fifties, before Joe Root's third hundred of the series propelled them to a 354-run lead.
In response, India showed great resistance on Day 3 of the Test. However, the following morning witnessed a deja-vu of the first day as the hosts got India out for 278, winning the game by an innings and 76 runs to draw level 1-1, with two Tests remaining. Reflecting on an incredible win, Joe Root stated that his side reaped the rewards for the hard yards they had put in the recent times and reckoned that they are capable of producing such stunning displays.
"It was a fantastic and clinical performance from the bowlers. The two big lads put loads of pressure with three maidens, and we had a really good opportunity to take wickets and we took them ruthlessly. We know we are capable of perfomances like this, and we have the talent, that opening stand was fantastic too. We controlled and hung in with the new ball, and we reaped the rewards," Root said in the post-match presentation.
He further lauded the veteran James Anderson, who had set up the game with his triple strikes on the opening day, while also lavishing praise on Malan, after the left-hander registered a fifty on his return to Test cricket.
"Anderson churns out performances like that and that's why he's the GOAT of Test cricket. He's very fit and sets an example for the other bowlers. Dawid played beautifully and started a bit cautiously, but once he got going, he was fluent like he'd been playing the last few years, so the international experience came to the fore. As a batter you are expected to go out and score everytime and I am happy I've managed to score a few. It's been a while since I got a hundred in my home ground and I hope we can carry this form forward as a team into the Oval."
Root was especially impressed with Ollie Robinson, who set it up on Saturday with his second Test five-for.
"Robinson has been brilliant, and he's asked good questions of their defence. He's managed to move the ball throughout the innings, not just with the new ball.
The skipper also threw his weight behind a struggling Sam Curran, who is yet to make a significant mark in the ongoing series.
"Sam is a talented player, and he may not be at his absolute best, but he will do special things for England. He showed last time we played India that he could play wonderful knocks, take key wickets, so I'm not worried about him at all. He has a lot of character and he will get better sooner rather than later. Buttler's availability will be known in the next few days (paternity leave). As this is my home ground, I've watched a lot of cricket here, so I thank them for all the great support."