England must win fourth Test against India, starting on Thursday, to level the series following their 10-wicket defeat in the third Test in Ahmedabad, when Axar Patel took 11 wickets and fellow spinner Ravi Ashwin seven
Last Updated: 27/02/21 3:12pm
England’s batsmen must focus on ‘fine-tuning’ and adapting to the match situation rather than making wholesale changes ahead of the final Test against India, according to Jonathan Trott.
The tourists face a 2-1 deficit in the four-match series after being rolled for just 112 and 81 by India’s spinners during the third Test in Ahmedabad, which resulted in a 10-wicket defeat inside two days.
Despite those paltry totals, former Test player Trott, working as England’s batting consultant throughout their winter tours, believes slight adjustments will serve the team best as they attempt to level the series next week.
“All our batters, I think, have a pretty good method,” said Trott, who won 52 Test caps for England between 2007 and 2015.
“It’s about going out there and executing it and not perhaps trying to change too much mid-series.
“It’s a case now of guys fine-tuning their ideas with regard to what they’ve come up against, the way their spinners bowled at our guys and coming up with how to maybe change things slightly.
“But it’s also about being able to adapt to whatever scenario they find themselves in next week. That’s the most important thing when it comes to playing cricket in the sub-continent.
“To be able to read the wickets and adapt accordingly to the surface and also the match situation, whether you’re facing spin with the new ball and it’s skidding on a little bit more – that’s what the guys need to adjust.
“I don’t think there’s many things they need to do technically. It’s a case of adapting to the situation they find themselves in.”
It remains to be seen whether England will reshuffle their batting line-up for the fourth Test, which also takes place in Ahmedabad, beginning on Thursday.
Other than Zak Crawley, who struck a first-innings half-century, no England batsman scored more than 25 in the match – with Jonny Bairstow, perceived as a specialist against spin, out for a pair.
Younger members of the side, such as Dom Sibley and Ollie Pope, also struggled to cope with India spin duo Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel, but Trott feels a maiden tour of the sub-continent is always likely to represent something of a learning curve.
“To come on your first Test tour of India is tricky,” he reflected. “I certainly found it tricky, my first time and a lot of players do.
“Between Ollie, Zak and Dom they’ve played 44 Tests together and a combined 11 in Asia. So it is tricky for those younger guys but at the same time it’s important they realise Test cricket is about being able to set up games and win them, even in difficult conditions like that.
“You like to be able to roll with the punches, but hopefully they’re learning well and they’ll be under no illusions about the challenge of winning the next Test.”
The tourists are due to resume practice on Monday after their unscheduled three-day break and, despite that crushing defeat in Ahmedabad, spirits remain high in the camp, according to Trott.
“You don’t become a bad side over just two Test matches,” he added. “We’ve won six out of last eight in all sub-continent Tests, so I don’t think it’s time to get too down on ourselves.
“India have played well, their two spinners have bowled really well and it’s time for us to match them skill-wise, whatever the surface is come next week. Yes, it hurts and we want to pull our socks up and do much better for England.
“It always makes you doubly determined for the next one. It’s about not being too desperate – sometimes I think you can want it too much and getting the right mentality is important.
“The camp is very buoyant, looking forward to getting back into the nets and getting back to two all. There’s not really anyone feeling sorry for themselves, just disappointment.”