Joe Root‘s first international five-wicket haul was a bitter-sweet experience for his England teammate and left-arm off-spinner Jack Leach. On Monday, Leach was all praise for Root’s spell, but he jokingly recalled how the England skipper ‘nicked’ a five-wicket haul off him.
Team India were cruising towards taking a big first-innings lead in the third Test in Ahmedabad when Joe Root brought himself to bowl. From 117-5, Root bowled out the hosts for 145. He took the last five wickets for just eight runs.
Jack Leach, who bowled well to pick up four wickets, was left stranded in search of a five-for at the other end as Root wreaked havoc with his part-time off-spin.
“It was an unbelievable spell. Nicked a five-for off me, didn’t he! But, no, he bowled really well and I think he is a really good off-spin bowler and an amazing batter. A world-class batter and most of his attention is going on that. But hopefully, he gets a lot of confidence from what he has done in that game. And I think he should definitely think of himself as a genuine option in these conditions,” Jack Leach said in the post-match press conference.
A whirlwind Test match ends with victory for India inside two days.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 25, 2021
Joe Root’s scalps included the likes of Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin, who are both brilliant players of spin. The England skipper outfoxed the Indian batsmen by varying his pace and allowing the ball to turn and bounce.
On the brownish Ahmedabad wicket, Joe Root and co. inscrutably selected three seamers and only one specialist spinner in Jack Leach. The visitors are unlikely to make the same mistake in the final Test, which starts on March 4.
Dom Bess, who is expected to replace one of the pacers, was inconsistent in the first Test in Chennai. As a result, Jack Leach and Joe Root’s disciplined bowling will again be key for England.
With 16 scalps to his name, Jack Leach is currently the third-highest wicket-taker in the series. He will look to put up another fine performance in the fourth and final Test.