How can Virat Kohli and his men stop Joe Root from scoring big?

NEW DELHI: Indian pace bowlers have been absolutely on song in the ongoing five-match Test series against England.
In the list of the top 6 highest wicket-takers in the series so far, four are Indian bowlers (Bumrah, Siraj, Shami and Ishant).
The Indian pacers have managed to come up with plans and strategies to trouble and run through pretty much the entire English batting line-up, barring the captain – Joe Root.
Root is currently the leading run scorer of the series so far, with 386 runs in 2 Tests (4 innings) at an astonishing average of 128.67. He scored 64 and 109 in the opening Test and then continued his rich vein of form, scoring a magnificent 180 not out in the first innings of the second Test at Lord’s. Though England lost the match, Root’s 321-ball stay at the crease frustrated Indian bowlers.

Joe Root (Reuters Photo)
In the top 10 of the highest run scorers so far in the series, there are only three English batsmen – Root (386 runs in 4 innings), Jonny Bairstow (118 runs in 4 innings) and Rory Burns (67 runs in 4 innings).
If India find a way to send Root back to the pavilion early, it will be a huge step towards securing a first Test series win on English soil since 2007.
So with three Tests to go in the series, what can India captain Virat Kohli and his men do to dismiss the dangerous Root early in his innings?
According to former England spinner Monty Panesar, captain Kohli should use Jasprit Bumrah as soon as Root arrives at the crease.
Bumrah, who is currently the highest wicket-taker in the series so far, 12 wickets in 2 Tests has dismissed Root twice on the tour.
“Joe Root’s balance is so beautiful at the moment. He is in great form. He is picking the short pitch bowling really well. He has good balance at the crease. The way to get him out is to bowl at the fifth stump line and outside the off stump. His wicket was planned by Virat in the second innings and Bumrah executed it well. Virat should again make a plan against Root. Root plays the pull shot really well, so don’t bowl short pitch balls to him. Virat should bring in Bumrah straightway whenever Root comes to the crease. Both Bumrah and Siraj have the ability to put pressure on a batman from the word go. That’s what they did with Root in the second innings and the captain lost his wicket,” Panesar told

AP Photo
In the 7 matches Bumrah has played against England in his career so far, the Indian pacer has managed to get rid of Root on 5 occasions (three caught by fielders and two LBWs).
“You need to frustrate Root and force him to change his position. He likes to bat with a flow. If the flow is not happening, he will change his position and game plan. That’s what India would want. That’s the way India can get Root out early,” Panesar, who played 50 Tests for England and took 167 wickets, further said.
Former India cricketer Maninder Singh meanwhile advised Team India to stay patient and keep trying to make Root feel uncomfortable till the in-form batsman makes a mistake.
Maninder was part of the Kapil Dev-led Indian team which defeated England 2-0 in their own backyard in the 1986 series. Maninder claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests on that tour.
“When a man is in sublime form, you have to wait for him to make a mistake. You need to keep bowling at a certain area where you think he might struggle and feel uncomfortable to play on. You need to wait and watch to make a batsman like Root make a mistake, lose his concentration. That’s all you can do,” Maninder, who played 35 Tests for India and picked 88 wickets, said.

Joe Root (AFP Photo)
Former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar, who was part of India’s 1986 Lord’s Test win, under Kapil Dev’s captaincy and scored a splendid 126 in India’s first innings, feels the Indian team should devise a clear strategy to stop run-machine Root.
“He (Root) is one of the best batsmen in the world. It is always good when you get the best man, in the opposition team, out early. It gives you a big advantage and upper hand in a match. The team needs to sit down and make a strategy against Root. The pacers have done a commendable job. I am sure Virat must have some plans against Root,” Vengsarkar told
Virat and the entire team would surely be working overtime to try and devise a strategy to make sure Joe doesn’t take ‘root’ going forward in the series.

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