England captain Joe Root on Saturday mourned the opportunities his team squandered in the lost fourth Test, saying they let slip the advantageous position from where they could have been on top of the game.
India trounced England by an innings and 25 runs when at one stage the host team was 121 for five but ended up taking a 160-run lead which proved to be match-winning.
Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel took the game away from England with their fearless approach.
“There have been times we had a chance to wrestle the game in our favour, to get on top, just didn’t manage to do it,” Root said at the post-match press conference.
“India played those important, key moments better than us in these last three games and credit for being able to do that better than we do.
“So, it has been disappointing, it has been frustrating to finish the series on a note that we have but we are going to keep looking forward as a team,” said Root.
The England skipper acknowledged Indian batsman Rishabh Pant’s remarkable ability to take the attack by the scruff of its neck.
“The way he bats, he makes it difficult for bowlers to build pressure on him. Sometimes he pulls a reverse sweep to a guy, who has 600 Test wickets.
“So it is quite a skill and a brave move to do and it came off for him and got themselves (India) to a very good position on that wicket,” said Root, referring to the reverse sweep which Pant played off James Anderson.
For India, Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed 32 wickets in the series, while Axar snared 27 wickets to leave England floored.
Root lavished praise on the Gujarat left-arm spinner saying he was relentless in his lengths. “In this series, Axar in particular, has been very accurate and has asked very good questions. He has been relentless with his length and some balls have skidded, some have spun quite big and we are going to just find a way to manage it well.”
But not all was doom and gloom for Root, who found solace in the fact that his wicket-keeper Ben Foakes and left-arm spinner Jack Leach performed their roles to the best of their abilities.
“Ben’s keeping this series has been excellent, I think, he is arguably the best keeper in the world, he is a fine player,” the skipper said.
“What I am impressed is with how Jack has performed on this trip, he has been brilliant, he has certainly got better and better as the tour progressed and he has been a very attacking option,” added Root.
England has been following a rotation policy for some time. Root was asked if it was rigid but the skipper insisted that it “was all done in the best interest” of his team. Root also emphasised that having the best players available is something a captain always wants but that does not mean that players burn themselves out.
“It is gonna be really important that we, with the amount of cricket that we are playing, having a number of guys that are multi-format, we look after everyone and don’t get to the stage where guys are severely burnt out.
“And we’re losing out on some real talent and also that they are losing out on the enjoyment factor once again,” he said.