Joe Root a dark horse to play for England in third Test, says Mark Ramprakash

Last Updated: 04/12/12 5:56pm

Joe Root: has over 2,000 first-class runs to his name at an average of 38

Joe Root's century for England Lions could catapult him into England's XI for the third Test against India, starting on Wednesday in Kolkata, says Mark Ramprakash.

Root, 21, was pipped to a Test debut by Nick Compton in the opening match of the four-Test series but continued to advance his claims by striking 166 for the England Performance Programme (EPP) side in a warm-up match against DY Patil Academy.

"I watched Joe Root get 160-odd for the Lions in a game last week and he may be a dark horse to perhaps come in as well - a guy who is in form."

Mark Ramprakash

Former England batsman Ramprakash fully expects Ian Bell to return to the starting line-up after missing the second Test victory while on paternity leave, but he suggested that the selectors may be prepared to make more changes.

"I think Bell will probably come back in," he told Sky Sports News. "He didn't get many runs early in the tour and he's had this very nice distraction, of course, with the birth of a child.

"The management will have to make sure that mentally he is up for it; he's very experienced and a high run-scorer in Test cricket and I think that in this case they'll probably plump for his experience and look to integrate him back into the team for the remaining two Tests.

"Although England won the second Test convincingly, it wasn't really an all-round team performance. There were star performances from Cook and Pietersen, but the rest of the batters need to get some runs.

"Samit Patel's position at No 6 is something they may be looking at. I watched Joe Root get 160-odd for the Lions in a game last week and he may be a dark horse to perhaps come in as well - a guy who is in form."


Sky Sports expert Sir Ian Botham says England should also make changes in their bowling attack because, in his opinion, all-rounder Stuart Broad is short of form and fitness at a time when Middlesex seamer Steven Finn is returning from injury.

Ramprakash believes selecting Finn over Broad would be a bold decision but one that gives them a better chance of winning a series in India for the first time since 1984/85.

"I saw Finn play in a three-day game recently and he did look very smooth in his run up, he had a good rhythm and of course he's got pace and bounce," he said.

"If you are only playing two quick bowlers, him at one end with Jimmy Anderson, who is looking to pitch the ball up a bit further with a bit of swing, at the other - that could be a good combination.

"Although England won the last Test match and people say don't tinker with a winning side, they'll always be looking to improve and this is definitely an area that they need to make a big decision on.

"It's no slight on Stuart Broad, because players do ebb and flow in his form and he will come again - he's still a top-class player; but right now, England are on the cusp of something really good in India and I just hope they will be bold with their selection."