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‘Rohit Sharma was worried’: England greats Atherton, Bell sense fear in India’s eyes ahead of 3rd Test at Rajkot

Michael Atherton and Ian Bell say they saw Rohit Sharma and India get worried in the 2nd Test which could give England the edge heading into Rajkot.

India may have won the 2nd Test at Visakhapatnam by 106 runs and come into the third match of the series high on the confidence of levelling it 1-1, but there was a brief period where the entire team, including captain Rohit Sharma feared the worst. Usually, chasing a target of 400 is considered next to impossible on Indian pitches, let alone a Day 4 surface, but when it comes to this England line-up, they don’t care about the past or history. Needing 332 to win on Day 4, England came out all guns blazing and the manner in which Zak Crawley was batting, there was a sense that the world could witness history.

Will Rajkot Test be slightly easier on Rohit Sharma? (AFP)

That didn’t happen, of course as England were bowled out for 292 but former captain Michael Atherton noticed the nervousness on India captain Rohit’s face when Crawley was going about his business and Joe Root came out embodying the spirit of Bazball. Root brisked away to 16 off 10 balls including two fours and a six, before perishing playing one shot too many, and while it may have sent some worries down in the Indian camp, the question remains: Does the world need Root playing ‘Bazball’?

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“England were long way second favourites coming into that final day. But I had a sense that Rohit was worried from time to time in the morning when Zak Crawley was playing so well on a Day 4 pitch in India. And then Joe Root came out and played what was for him a very frenetic and skittish innings. McCullum said that he did not have a problem with the intent but it didn’t quite work out. The conversation beyond that was whether Root is comfortable Baz-balling or if he should play in the manner everybody knows he can,” Atherton said on Sky Sports.

‘India worried about this England batting line-up’: Ian Bell

Responding to Atherton’s query, another former England batter, Ian Bell, said that he is a fan of the conventional batter in Root, because quite simply… he is one of the best at his craft. In Vizag, he became only the fourth overseas batter to notch up 1000 Test runs in India and considering his healthy strike-rate in Test matches – which in itself is enough to make a side like India panic – Bell reckons there is no need for him to be Baz-balling.

“I want Joe Root to be Joe Root. On his day, he is the best player in the world. Even when he plays normally, he scores at a good rate. He is the best at rotating strike; you’ll have him in any team in the world. I didn’t see that part [of Root batting], there is no doubt that India are worried about this England batting line-up. They know of the dangers England pose which is fantastic,” said Bell, a veteran of 118 Tests and 161 ODIs for England.


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