AHMEDABAD: England Test captain Joe Root on Wednesday said that his side did not underestimate Axar Patel and it has been just a case of the left-arm spinner being good and exploiting the conditions at the Narendra Modi Stadium really well.
The fourth Test is decisive for the hosts as it would take them to the World Test Championship (WTC) final. India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the third Test and took the 2-1 lead in the series.
Axar has had a memorable series so far as he has returned with 18 wickets from two matches. In the third Test, the left-arm spinner returned with 11 wickets and he was adjudged as Man of the Match for his performance.
"I definitely do not think that we underestimated Axar Patel. I think he has exploited the surfaces really well, he has managed to beat both edges of the bat. For any spinner, it is exactly what you are trying to do, every spinner is trying to keep all the modes of dismissals in play. I think he has done that very well, we have to make sure that we are covering our stumps and one goes past the outside edge, we just have to accept that," said Root while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
"We have got to put pressure back on the bowler, if we do get balls to score off, we have to make sure that we put them away. Similarly, if we get the opportunity to get off strike, we have to do that. It is trusting the basics of the game and it is the most important thing for a team. We have that confidence in our team," he added.
India had managed to defeat England within two days in the third Test at the same venue. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners. Root also ended up taking a fifer in the first innings of the third Test and returned with the figures of 5-8. However, England went in with just Lack Leach as a frontline spinner in that match.
When ANI asked Root if he has been guilty of under bowling himself in the past, he said: "On that surface, I got a couple of early wickets. I managed to bowl well in the previous games. On occasions, I can bowl myself a little more but when you have got frontline spinners, I trust them to take the wickets and do the job for us. That's the way I see it, when you have guys like James Anderson, regardless of the surface, you feel those guys can have more impact than I can."
The four-match series is currently being led by India (2-1) and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC).