Thursday , September 23 2021

ENG vs IND | India’s batting is ‘world class’, need to be right on the money: Mark Wood

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma

India have a ‘world-class’ batting line-up and bowlers will have to be right on the money to avoid being punished, England pacer Mark Wood said on Wednesday ahead of the fifth and final Test here.

“I think it’s (India) a world class batting line up. You go throughout the whole line-up and you think, well he is a great player, he is a good player. Rohit Sharma is being brilliant, he is tough to bowl at in any conditions,” Wood said at a virtual con-call.

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The Indian team is 2-1 ahead in the five-match series, having won the second and fourth Tests at Lords and the Oval by 151 and 157 runs respectively.

The hosts defeated the Virat Kohli-led side in the third game at Leeds by an innings and 76 runs.

KL Rahul, I have been really impressed with him, he has left the bowl really well early on and played really solitary and when he gets in, he has played quite beautifully. The openers are two big wickets for us,” said Wood.

The 31-year-old speedster, who has 64 wickets from 21 Tests, said England have plans and back-up plans for each opposition batsman.

“Then you have got (Cheteshwar) Pujara, (Virat) Kohli, I mean Kohli is one of the toughest players that I have bowled at in any format, so it is world class line-up, but if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe you can get them out then there is no point in playing.

“So, we believe in ourself as a group, we have plans for each batsman, we have back-up plans, sometimes it works, sometimes they don’t. But when you have such a good sort of batting line up to come up against, you have to be right on the money, otherwise they punish you,” said Wood.

Wood said the series has been a highly-contested one and his team “messed up” on the last day at Lords but he was optimistic that the hosts will bounce back.

“Although, we are losing these games, it is the fine margins when you come up against good batsmen, you are going to really make it count and that is what we are trying to do this game, bounce back, put in a really good performance and we hope we can do the same again,” he said.

The right-arm pacer also lavished praise on the Indian pace bowlers saying he has immense respect for them. “I think, every-team has quality pacers, this is national cricket, this is not (some) sort of school or club cricket. Every team has fantastic bowlers and I respect this Indian pace attack immensely,” said Wood.

“I think it is highly skilled, it has got pace, they are all slightly different, with different angles, different actions. It is great to watch, I mean, it is not great to face as a batsman, but as an opposition player, you can get a huge respect.

“And (Mohammed) Shami, I have been hugely impressed with him throughout the series. His skill level, his accuracy and it has been tough for batsmen of both sides. It is a good bowling line up but we recognise that we will have to combat as best we can.”

Wood also said that 30-year-old England left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who has been recalled to the Test side, has a “great chance” to play at the Old Trafford.

“It is a place that can spin, he is someone, if he turns up, I am sure, India will think hard about him, he did well in India, so he is going with confidence knowing that he can get these great players out. He is someone who gives 100 percent,” Wood signed off.

The fifth Test will be aired on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) channels from September 10th to 14th from 3.30 PM IST.

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