We underperformed with the bat: Joe Root
Joe Root scored 16 and 13 at Trent Bridge (Getty Images)

Following his side’s 203-run defeat to India in the third Test at Trent Bridge, England skipper Joe Root rued his side’s batting collapse in the first innings. England, in reply to India’s first-innings total of 329, were bundled out for 161 with Hardik Pandya picking up his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. India secured a first-innings lead of 168, a challenging figure considering England’s batting hasn’t been at its best.

“We were performing extremely well with the ball, and potentially could have bowled them out quickly. We could have bowled a bit fuller, but that’s nitpicking,” Root said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“India batted extremely well on that first day. I think it’s fair to say we underperformed in our first innings. “It’s been challenging conditions for the top order, for both sides. We’ve got to be realistic about things – we’ve got two very good players at the top of the order. We’ve got to go back and find ways to adapt, and that’s not just those two guys.”

As India set England 521 runs to win the Test with a little over two days, the under-fire England openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings saw their team through unscathed at stumps. But the next day, England imploded to lose four wickets for 35 runs. From there, with their back against the wall, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes stitched an admirable stand of 169 and prolonged India’s wait for a fifth wicket. Root himself managed 16 and 13 in both innings.

“The second-innings partnership between Jos and Ben was a lesson to us, the way they adapted to the situation, how clear they looked about how they were going to score their runs. We need to look at that and see how we can adapt our own games to score 400 in the first innings,” Root pointed out.

“The best thing about [Buttler's innings] is that he can crash the ball to all parts, but the thing about him is how he can look at a situation and work out how to play. To have that performance in the bank will give him a great deal of confidence.”

Root credited his counterpart Virat Kohli for continuing his glorious form in the series. For the second time, Kohli amassed 200 runs in Test this series (after Edgbaston), and took his tally to 440 runs with two Tests to go. That said, Kohli and India owe England for their goof-up in the field. Across both innings, England dropped quite a number of catches, including two chances of Kohli.

“We’ve generally bowled well at him [Kohli], he’s not scored too quickly against us, but he’s found ways to score runs. We’re working extremely hard on our catching, we know it’s a massively important area. It’s not worked out until now, but if we get it right we know it will play massive dividends. It was great to see what he is capable of doing and hopefully this was just the first of many hundreds to come in his career,” Root said.

On the injury sustained to Jonny Bairstow, Root was sceptical about the availability of his premier wicketkeeper batsman for the next Test starting September 30. “It’s early days, we have to see how that swelling comes down. We’ll see over the next few days where he’s at. He’s in fine form, and it will be great if he plays,” said the England captain.