‘Joe Root Owes Me One Of His Centuries’- Says Alex Lees After Getting Run Out By Former England captain
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Birmingham: Alex Lees, the England opener who was run out after scoring 56 in England’s second innings run chase, told a post-play media conference on the 4th day, “If we bat well for the first 30-40 minutes tomorrow (Tuesday) morning we should be in a pretty strong position (to win the match). We are just very optimistic.”

He said, “(Ben) Stokes’ spell turned the game on its head. The (England) bowling this morning was the biggest turning point.” The England captain and all-rounder Stokes captured four wickets for 33 runs in a spell replete with short-pitched bowlers, which fetched dividends for the home side as Indian batsmen obliged with injudicious hooks”

He also joked that Joe Root owed him one of his centuries after getting run out by the former captain. Lees said, “Yeah, I mean, he (Joe Root) could lend me one of his Test 100’s. He has got plenty of them. But no, yeah, I mean, I saw him briefly when he came off the field and, obviously, gutted. I think that, on a personal level, obviously being run-out in two innings now is, obviously, quite hard to take. But the pleasing thing, for me, is that we are in an amazing position as a team and I have run-out people in my career – it is a horrible feeling. It is nothing that you obviously mean to do. So yeah, I mean, he (Joe Root) is a top guy and, hopefully, he will get the job done tomorrow (lead England to victory on Tuesday).”

Speaking about the spirit in the England dressing room before the start of their second innings, Lees remarked, “There is the ultimate belief that from one to 11 that we can do it.’ He added: ‘My role was to put some pressure on the Indian bowlers.”

India fielded batting coach Vikram Rathour to meet the media. He stated: “We had a pretty ordinary day with our batting. We could not convert starts.”

He went on to say: “If two wickets fall early tomorrow morning, the game can still open up. It’s not beyond (Mohammed) Shami and (Jasprit) Bumrah.” However, he admitted: “We needed to bowl better, in better areas; a couple of dropped catches also made a difference.”

About Cheteshwar Pujara, who made a half-century before departing to an uncharacteristic uppish square cut, he felt he “gave his best”.

In a dramatic day, India slipped from a dominant position to danger of losing the test. They were bowled out for 245 in their second innings. Thereafter, England were at 259 for three, with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on 76 and 72 respectively, chasing 378 to win.


(Inputs from IANS)