Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 9 (ANI): England skipper Joe Root on Tuesday admitted that Rishabh Pant was a big factor in his side not declaring in their second innings even after the lead crossed the 400-run mark.
On Tuesday, England defeated India by 227 runs in the first Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. On day five of the first Test, James Anderson and Jack Leach stole the show for England as they took seven wickets among themselves to bundle out the hosts for 192.
"We could have declared earlier, for sure, we could have. I wanted to make sure that there were only two results possible in this game. I wanted to make sure that we turned up today with the ball still being hard. We wanted to give our bowlers an extra bit of time to be raring to go. We wanted to get to 400 and then we wanted to press the accelerator. Actually, it was going to be really important that we had runs on the board as it was a fast outfield," said Root while replying to an ANI query during the virtual press conference.
"Rishabh Pant bats for one session and he can make things quite interesting. I did not want the pressure of having to contain and as well as take wickets. I wanted to make sure that the bowlers were concentrating on the ways of finding the wickets on that surface. We were always going to create ten chances, we just had to be disciplined and take the chances that came our way. We could have declared earlier, I am just glad how it has turned out," he added.
Kohli top-scored for India as he played a knock of 72 runs.
With this loss, England jumped to the first spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings while India has slipped to the fourth spot.
"The toss was going to be important. From that point, it was crucial that we made the most of batting first on that wicket. We played fantastic cricket, we were in control of the game and the guys were exceptional today in particular. It will give us confidence going into the series. I think Anderson seems to get better with time. Those fitness levels are right up there, it is probably the best he has ever been in his whole career," said Root.
"This is certainly a very good victory. But in the scheme of this series, we know it's just a start. We know India is a very good team and they are a very proud nation, they have some exceptional players. They will come hard at us but to be sitting 1-0 up, it's really good. Really proud of how we played this week, there are some areas we can improve on," he added.
It was a perfect day for England despite India skipper Kohli showing resilience in the second innings. The England bowlers dominated the hosts right from the start of the final day. Shubman Gill showed a glimmer of hope but that was short-lived as Anderson ran riot dismissing Gill, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant.
On day four, England was bowled out for 178 in the second innings and India was set a target of 420 to win.
Earlier, in the first innings, England skipper Joe Root played a knock of 218 runs and he also became the first player in the history of cricket to register a century in his 100th Test. (ANI)