AHMEDABAD: The Indian Test pitch on which England lost in two days pushed the players to “extremes” but the experience will toughen them for the final clash of the series, coach Chris Silverwood said on Friday.

Trailing 2-1 to India after the 10-wicket mauling in Ahmedabad, Silverwood said captain Joe Root and his players must now find a way to “come out fighting”.

The pitch has faced criticism from pundits though the England management have said nothing publicly.

“Whatever the pitch did or didn’t do, India ultimately played better than us on that surface,” said Silverwood.

“But it probably pushed us to the extremes of what any of our players... have experienced.”

The conditions have clearly rankled within the England camp.

“We will be talking about certain things behind the scenes. Joe and I have to sit down, have a conversation and see where we go with it,” the coach added.

After scoring just 193 runs in two innings, Silverwood acknowledged that England will have to work hard on their confidence before the fourth and final Test starts on March 4 at the same 110,000 capacity stadium.

The coach said the team must aim to “make amends and come out fighting for the next one and hopefully draw the series.”

Many of the young side, ranging from Zak Crawley to Olly Pope and Dom Sibley, on their first tour of South Asia, have come through a traumatic experience in Ahmedabad.

“As tough as it is at the moment, hopefully this will galvanise them,” said Silverwood.

“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.”

Silverwood backed India captain Virat Kohli’s assertion that the batting on both sides had suffered.

He said the coaching staff were coming up for “counter-actions” for the next time they have to face spin duo Axar Patel, who took 11 wickets in the match, and Ravichandran Ashwin, whose seven wickets took him past 400 in Tests.

“We have to accept that we do have to get better on these pitches. We have got to accept that there are places where we could have improved on,” Silverwood added.

WOAKES RETURNS HOME

All-rounder Chris Woakes has returned home without playing any part in England’s Test series in India as part of their rotation policy, the team said on Saturday.

Woakes was particularly in contention to play the third Test in Ahmedabad but England kept faith with veterans Anderson and Broad in a four-pronged pace attack.

Woakes will not be part of England’s bid to level the series with a team spokesman confirming the Warwickshire all-rounder has returned home.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2021

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