London, Aug 21 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Atherton has put the onus on Joe Root and James Anderson to carry the injury-stricken host team through in the ongoing Test series against India.
India have dominated the first two Tests, winning the second Test in a remarkable fashion as England, who are missing their top fast bowlers and all-rounder Ben Stokes due to injuries, have failed to perform to optimum level.
Only skipper Joe Root and 39-year-old pace bowler James Anderson have put up performances of note. Root is the leading run-getter in the Test series with 386 runs while Anderson has picked nine wickets.
“Over two matches, England have competed for long periods, and this without some serious cricketers — Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Chris Woakes absent for two Tests and Stuart Broad for one,” wrote Atherton in his column in the Telegraph.
“They have the benefit of two of their greatest cricketers, in James Anderson and Joe Root, and in Test cricket, great players can make up a lot of ground for limitations elsewhere. All is not lost,” added Atherton.
Praising Indian team’s ferocity and the will-power to win, the former England opener said the visitors should have been 2-0 up by now.
“The ferocity of their play, their will to win, and their skill to carry them through difficult moments, should have removed any doubts about how the Nottingham Test would have finished but for rain. To all intent and purposes, India should be 2-0 up,” he wrote further.
“Although home sensibilities will focus, inevitably, on England’s final day performance on Monday, which was by far unintelligent and then limp, it was India who left an indelible impression,” Atherton added.
He praised England for the fight despite depleted resources but said there is not much that can be done.
“In short term, given the injuries and lack of domestic first-class cricket to provide alternatives, there is not a great deal to be done,” he said.