"Didn't want to really give India a chance to win" - Jon Lewis on England's decision to not declare in 2nd innings

England's skipper Joe Root
Modified 09 Feb 2021

England Cricket Team's bowling coach Jon Lewis has explained the visitors' decision to bat all-out without declaring in their 2nd innings. Lewis said that this being the first Test, they didn't want India to have any chance of winning the match.

England had a fine day on the field on Monday. They first bowled out Virat Kohli's men for 337, a substantial 241 short of their first innings total. The English batsmen then came up with all guns blazing and scored over 3.8 runs per over in the second dig.

They have set India a target of 420 runs on the crumbling Chepauk pitch, which if chased will be the biggest Test win ever.

"I think the guys were positive in the way they played. It's not a straightforward pitch where you can go and be reckless. We were very comfortable with the amount of overs we wanted to bowl tonight. Obviously, we wanted to have a part of the second new ball tomorrow as well, if required, 20 overs or so. This is the first game of the series. We wanted to get off to a really strong start and so didn't want to really give India a chance to win. We also want to have our attacking fielders in all day especially for our spinners. So to get as many runs as we can and keep the run-rate high seemed like our best chance to win," Jon Lewis told a press-conference after the day's play.

Jon Lewis further said the England team were confident about creating "enough chances" to clinch the match.

"We are really happy with where we are at. With that many runs on the board we are ahead in the game, we have played some really good cricket. We are confident we can create enough chances to win the game tomorrow. I think we are in a very strong position and we just need to work hard tomorrow and show the right character and do the basics really well. I think they have very strong batters in the side but we have got enough in the tank to win."

England batsmen played the best they could: Jon Lewis

England batsman Ollie Pope
England batsman Ollie Pope

Further into the press conference, Jon Lewis was asked about the England batsmen's strategy, especially Ollie Pope (28 off 32), who looked positive but perished while trying to play a switch hit. Lewis replied that the batsmen played the best they could on the turning track.

"The guys just decided to play the situations the best they could. It wasn't straightforward on turning conditions with Ashwin bowling to go out and smack the ball all over the place. We still scored at a pretty good rate. He (Ollie Pope) makes it look a lot easier than the other players," said Jon Lewis.

In response to England's mammoth target, India went to stumps with 39 runs on the board at the loss of one wicket. The pitch is not a mine-field and allows brisk scoring, but the balance is still heavily tilted in the favor of the visitors.

Published 09 Feb 2021
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