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Joe Root admits England got selection wrong again for fourth India Test

The Guardian logo The Guardian 13-12-2016 Ali Martin at the Wankhede Stadium
Joe Root took the wicket of India’s Parthiv Patel with his fourth ball of the afternoon session on day three. © Reuters Joe Root took the wicket of India’s Parthiv Patel with his fourth ball of the afternoon session on day three.

Joe Root has admitted that England made an error in selection in the ongoing fourth Test with India, after a chastening third day in which the four-man pace attack sent down just 24 overs between them and his own part-time off-breaks picked up two wickets.

After the defeat in Mohali, the captain, Alastair Cook conceded he and Trevor Bayliss, the head coach, misread the pitch when opting for three spinners. Here in Mumbai, where they replaced Gareth Batty with Jake Ball, the mistake appears to have been made the other way.

While Ball removed Cheteshwar Pujara with the second delivery of the third morning – the Indian No3 shouldered arms to a ball that nipped back – this early breakthrough was the solitary wicket of the 17 witnessed in the first nine sessions of the match to fall to seam.

Root said: “We thought there might be a bit more in it for the seamers but it’s not quite worked out that way so far. In hindsight, I think we would have liked to play an extra spinner. But it would be silly to think about things that are out of our hands now. We’ve just got to make the best of what we’ve got.”

Doing so meant Root turning his arm over for eight overs and during the afternoon, where England fought back impressively with four wickets before a demoralising evening session. He claimed the wickets of Parthiv Patel and Ravi Ashwin in quick succession – the first of which he took when Cook was off the field.

“It always seems to work that way – the lads put some really hard yards in all day, and you come and bowl some filthy part-timers and sneak a couple of wickets,” Root said.

“As far as the decision to bring me on, it was initiated by Cooky before we left the field – so I can’t take any credit for that.”

If Root’s bowling was a bonus – the wicket of Patel caught behind was particularly satisfying for the tourists given the wicketkeeper’s damning critique of their spinners after day two – then he was among the guilty parties in the field on a day when two dropped catches and poor use of the review system proved costly.

The England vice-captain dropped Jayant Yadav on eight at second slip in Jimmy Anderson’s first over with the second new ball, while earlier Adil Rashid had put down a return catch from centurion Virat Kohli when the Indian captain was 68.

The pair’s unbroken 87 for the eighth wicket together late in the day compounded these drops, with Yadav given another life on 28 when the umpire Bruce Oxenford missed a catch down leg. England, having already burned their two reviews – the second to a fanciful caught behind that Anderson had scarcely appealed for – had no recourse.

Root added: “After that middle session, the way we got ourselves into a pretty good position, it was quite frustrating we couldn’t take the wickets at the back end. It just proves that when you create those half-chances, you’ve got to make sure you take them.

“[Rashid’s] was a very difficult catch. Those either stick or they don’t, so you can’t put blame on Rash for that. It’s a marginal half-chance at best.”

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