Chris Silverwood hopes England batsmen can learn from quickfire third-Test loss
England head coach Chris Silverwood is hoping hard times will help him make hard cricketers and wants his side to use the stinging two-day loss to India to stiffen their resolve.
Silverwood saw his side bowled out twice in less than 80 overs at the crease, mustering a grim total of 193 in their two innings on an Ahmedabad pitch that he holds clear misgivings about.
Like captain Joe Root, he would not be drawn into a direct critique of the extreme spinning conditions but did make it clear the case was not considered closed within the England ranks, who could yet opt to pursue the matter through official channels.
“We will be talking about certain things behind the scenes. Joe and I have to have a sit down, have a conversation and see where we go with it,” he said, without elaborating.
“I’m not saying we’ve just got to accept things, I’m just saying at this moment in time I’ve not got anything to add.”
He was happier to open up about what he hoped his players could take out of their humbling defeat, a game attempt to pluck the positives from England’s fastest Test defeat in 100 years.
An improved method on turning tracks is an obvious target, though it is only a month since back-to-back wins over Sri Lanka in Galle and a rapid evolution is perhaps too much to hope for in the handful of days leading up the fourth Test. In the long term, he is even keener to see a mental shift when the deck is not heavily stacked against them.
Having been lined up to be taken down by Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin in the last two matches, Silverwood wants his top order to hold the memory tight and use it as motivation the next time they walk out on a friendlier pitch.
Whether that is in the return series against India this summer, or in the 2021/22 Ashes tour, he wants his top order to cash in when the going is good.
“You look at the guys we’ve got in there, your Popes, Crawleys, Sibleys. As tough as it is at the moment, hopefully this will galvanise them,” he said.
“When they do get on flat surfaces, better surfaces, it will make them even more hungry and desperate to make sure they get runs. When we travel to other countries, such as Australia, hopefully if they get themselves in they’ll get greedy and go big. This experience will just harden them towards that.
“Equally, the next time they experience a situation like this, it won’t be as much of a shock to them. As tough as it is and as painful as it is at this moment, hopefully we can take some good lessons.”
In the short-term, England have three extra days in the bubble to prepare for chapter two in Ahmedabad. Spin is likely to be the order of the day again, but the unknown quantity of the pink ball will at least be removed from the equation with the game taking place in regular daylight hours.
England were seduced into picking a seam-heavy attack last time out, hoping for big swing and carry under the lights, but could now go back to Dom Bess.
The off-spinner was dropped for Moeen Ali in Chennai and remained on the sidelines on a pitch where Root’s part-timer off-breaks scooped up five wickets for eight runs.
With Moeen back in England on a much-discussed rest period, England must now determine two things: if Bess can provide the required consistency and if their handling of him has damaged his confidence.
“He’s in contention. He was left out and Mo played in the second Test, he was given a break,” said Silverwood.
“He was left out of this one because of potential movement we could have got out of the pink ball. All the evidence was that it moved in training, in the middle and the nets.
“From Bessy’s point of view I wouldn’t read too much into that. He’s been great around the group.
“We’ve got a good group here who do get around each other and help each other out, keep each other going. You have to do that in bubble life, which is what we’re living in at the moment. We’re lucky we’ve got that sort of environment.”
Chris Woakes quickly into the groove on Test comeback
The England seamer took the wicket of Rohit Sharma in the fourth Test at the Oval.
Tammy Beaumont ‘not too bothered’ to miss out on T20 hundred in England win
The opener hit 97.
Tammy Beaumont agonisingly misses out on T20 ton as England beat New Zealand
The opener was out for 97 in England’s 46-run victory.
Lancashire’s Josh Bohannon hits 170 as Essex, Nottinghamshire and Kent seal wins
Nottinghamshire, Essex and Kent wrapped up victories with a day to spare.
India claim England are wary of facing Ravichandran Ashwin on a spinning track
Ashwin has not played yet in the series.
‘I think about who I’m representing’ – Moeen Ali on England vice-captain honour
Joe Root hailed the all-rounder as a “natural leader” with a “brilliant cricket brain” after choosing the 34-year-old to be his new right-hand man.
England captain Joe Root hits top spot in ICC Test batting rankings
He has scored six centuries since the turn of the year including three in the current series with India.
Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire on track for wins in Championship Division One
Essex, Northamptonshire and Kent also moved into strong positions in the lower tiers.
Joe Root has bowling options to ponder as England prepare to take on India
Chris Woakes and Mark Wood could come back into the side at the Oval.
World Cup winner Liam Plunkett taking his career stateside
Plunkett will leave Surrey at the end of the season.