Root asks England to sustain pressure in second Test

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Proteas look to Du Plessis to turn around fortunes at Trent Bridge

Root asks England to sustain pressure in second Test

England’s Alastair Cook (from left), Mark Wood and Ben Stokes play football during a training session in Nottingham yesterday. England lead the series 1-0.

Nottingham,July 14 – England captain Joe Root is determined his side don’t let up when the second Test against South Africa starts at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge on Friday.

Root’s first match since succeeding Alastair Cook as England skipper was a personal triumph, with the 26-year-old Yorkshireman scoring a first-innings 190 in a 211-run win in the series opener at Lord’s last week as the hosts went 1-0 up with more than a day to spare.

 England, however, lost eight Tests last year and Root is wary of letting complacency creep in.

“We definitely want to make sure we make this start count,” Root told reporters at Trent Bridge on Thursday, with England looking to go an unassailable 2-0 up in this four-match series.

“It’s important we set the tone with whatever we do tomorrow morning and drive that forward throughout the rest of the game.”

Root confirmed England would field an unchanged team after off-spinner Moeen Ali, who took 10 wickets on a turning pitch at Lord’s, and slow left-armer Liam Dawson helped ease the workload on his seamers.

“We’re going to go in with the same team,” Root said. “It gives us great balance if spin does come into it later in the game, we’ve got plenty of options.

“Our seamers, it might be that they play a bigger part this week, but that quite excites me. They only bowled a handful of overs in the second innings last week.

“It means they’re nice and fresh, and when they get their opportunity they’ll still be pretty fresh coming into the second innings later in this game.”

One of those pacemen, James Anderson, did not bowl much during Thursday’s nets session, but Root insisted England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker was fully fit after struggling with groin and shoulder problems recently.

“He had a little bowl today,” Root added. “Jimmy knows his body, he’s obviously had a couple of injury issues over the course of this year and I think he’s just been smart with the way that he practises.

“He’s a senior player, he knows what he’s doing. He’s done it for such a long time now.

“It’s really important that he’s smart in how he looks after his body and I think how he’s gone about it this week is when he has bowled he’s made sure that he’s been right on it and he’s got something out of it, but at the same time he’s got plenty in the tank for when we start on Friday.”

South Africa will, meanwhile, hope the return of captain Faf du Plessis leads to a revival in their fortunes in the second Test.

Dropped catches and wickets off no-balls cost South Africa dear, while their second innings collapse to 119 all out showed how much they could do with Du Plessis’s customary resilience with the bat.

Their task in levelling the series in Nottingham has been complicated by pace bowler Kagiso Rabada being ruled out as he serves a one-game for swearing at Ben Stokes after dismissing the England all-rounder in the first innings at Lord’s.

“Losing KG [Rabada], do you look at playing a four-seamer attack, because you’re losing quite a high-quality bowler?” Du Plessis said after South Africa’s loss at Lord’s.

“That means a batsman would miss out. Obviously, that’s one option.”

Courtesy : Gulf News

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