Dom Bess is 'a better player' since his Test omission against India, says Joe Root
England are widely expected to recall Dom Bess alongside fellow spinner Jack Leach for the fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad, starting on Thursday; India lead the series 2-1 following their 10-wicket victory in the third Test
Last Updated: 04/03/21 5:48am
England off-spinner Dom Bess has developed into a better player since being dropped earlier in the series against India, according to Test captain Joe Root.
Bess is in line for a recall to the side as England attempt to claw back a 2-1 deficit by winning the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad, beginning on Thursday.
He was left out after struggling for control during India's second innings in the series opener in Chennai, which England won by a whopping 317 runs - but Root has been impressed by the 23-year-old's reaction since then.
"He's certainly up for selection, he's been training really well and he's actually used the time out of the game during the last two Tests to work on a few things," said the England skipper. "He looks really good.
"He's practised very hard, he's got a very good character and if he gets a chance to play I'm sure he'll be desperate to try and exploit the surface, if it's anything like the last two games.
"When you do sometimes get taken out of the side, it's really important that you use that opportunity to improve and evolve as a player, to get better all the time and I think he's done that.
"He's used that time to work on his game and become a better player for it. That's exactly what you want from players - to go away and try and improve themselves and he's certainly done that."
Bess looks certain to play alongside Jack Leach in a double-pronged spin attack, with one of England's frontline seam trio - James Anderson, Stuart Broad or Jofra Archer - making way for his return.
Moeen Ali, who replaced Bess for the second Test, is being rested for the remainder of the tour, while back-up spinners Amar Virdi and Matt Parkinson are not under consideration to play and Mason Crane has also flown home.
Reflecting on his omission from the side, Bess admitted: "It was certainly a tough pill to swallow. I didn't see it round the corner.
"Personally, I didn't think I needed it but, as time went on, it was probably the best option. I do think a lot about the game and I'm always trying to get better, whether thinking about it or doing it physically.
"So the hardest part for me was getting away from it and I guess the management did it for me. It has freshened me up, I've thought about things and then had time to work on it.
"Hopefully I'll look back over the period and think it's actually been a real success heading into this last game."
Although England struggled to cope with Indian spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel on a turning pitch during the third Test - when they were bowled out for 112 and 81 - Root hinted that changes to the batting line-up were unlikely.
In particular, the captain gave his backing to Jonny Bairstow, who registered a pair on his return to the side but is expected to continue at first wicket down in Ahmedabad.
"Jonny's a very experienced player and he'll be disappointed," said Root. "He wants to do well and he wants to perform in an England shirt.
"He's very proud and I don't think there's a better motivator for him, really. He'll go into this game wanting to prove a point and we all know, when Jonny wants to prove a point, that's when you get the best out of him.
"Hopefully we'll see that. More than anything, if he gets through his first 10 to 15 balls, which the likelihood is he will, he can be a real threat against India on that surface."
Should the wicket again prove conducive to spin, Root - who is the only England batsman to post three figures so far in the series, with his double hundred in the first Test - has warned his team-mates against adopting a bunker mentality.
"If the wicket is as it is, a big score might not be 150 - it might be a really well-constructed 70 or 80," he added.
"It's that balance between being calm and in control of what you do and being clear about where you're going to score your runs.
"I'd hate for us to just sit in a bunker the whole time and try and defend our way through it. We do have to be clear about where we rotate strike, where we score boundaries, and trust that side of our game as well as our defence.
"If we get a chance to get ahead in the game, we have to really make it count and get some scoreboard pressure like we did in the first game of this series."
Follow text commentary from the fourth Test between India and England on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 3.30am on Thursday.