Root lavishes praise on bowlers after England's thrilling win
Birmigham : An elated England captain Joe Root heaped praise on his bowlers for helping the team win first against India by 31 runs in a rip-roaring match here on Saturday.
"I am thrilled to bits. It has been a fantastic team performance despite the ups and downs the credit must go to the bowling unit more than anything," Root said at the post match presentation ceremony.
Spearheaded by 20-year old Sam Curran who returned career-best figures of 4-74 in the first innings, the England bowlers were exceptional in both innings to keep India barring, captain Virat Kohli (149), in check.
Veterans James Anderson and stuart Broad were at the their lethal best at different stages of the game as was all-rounder Ben Stokes who scalped the important wickets of Kohli (51) and Hardik Pandya (31) on the fourth day to swing the game in England's favour.
England's batters failed in the second dig except Curran who hit a belligerent 63 to give England a chance of winning.
Root, who struck a patient 80 in the first innings, did not want to ponder too much into their batting woes and added it is never easy to take all 20 wickets in the five-day format.
"The easy thing to do is to criticize the batters, but it isn't easy taking 20 wickets on a pitch like this."
Talking about Saturday when chasing 194 for victory, the visitors needed 84 with Kohli still at the crease with Dinesh Karthick, Root said they wanted to remain calm as that would give the hosts the best chance to eke out a win.
"Coming into today, it was going to be stiff challenge and we knew that if we stayed calm throughout, we would give ourselves the best chance to win.
"I felt quite calm, might not have appeared to be but it is something I need to work on.
That is what the atmosphere is all about, this is why Test cricket is this special - it throws up so many things through the day and we did a good job in staying calm and kept believing in each other.
"We were really good in staying quite calm, trusting the stuff that worked for us previously and we made sure we didn't get ahead of ourselves. After three days of fantastic cricket from both sides, it gives us a lot of confidence going into the next game."
England take on India in the second of the five Test series on August 9 at Lord's in London.