Moeen Ali decides to leave England squad ahead of third India Test

By Sports Desk February 16, 2021

Moeen Ali has decided to return to England following the second Test against India, with Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow joining the team for the next match.

After England succumbed to a 317-run loss to India on day four of the second Test in Chennai, captain Joe Root announced Moeen had chosen to leave the bubble.

Moeen was part of the squad for the two Tests against Sri Lanka in January but did not play after spending 13 days in quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test.

The all-rounder sat out the first match against India at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium but returned for the second and took eight wickets – four in each innings – on his return from an 18-month absence in the longest format.

Moeen also added an 18-ball 43 that included five maximums as England failed to hold on for a draw or chase down a victory target of 482, with India levelling the series at 1-1.

"It was not about asking him if he wanted to stay. It was a decision he chose," said Root.

"He wants to get out the bubble and that is absolutely fair enough. We respect where he is at."

England lost all 10 wickets to spin in their second innings and were bowled out for 164 on Tuesday, with Axar Patel claiming a debut five-for and Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored a second-innings century, taking his haul of wickets in the match to eight.

The tourists resumed on 53-3 but lost four wickets in the opening session and saw Root depart five balls after lunch, with Moeen's late flurry coming before the inevitable defeat.

"Credit has to go to India. They outplayed us in all three departments. We got a bit of an education," said England skipper Root.

"We have got to learn. These are the conditions you sometimes come up against. We have got to find a way to score in these conditions and take wickets.

"I think we would like to have bowled slightly better on the first day, find ways of bowling pressure, bowling six balls at one batter and just didn’t quite manage to do that, something I think we can get right in the future.

"We are 1-1 in the series with two important games to come. We are very much in this series. It is set up very nicely."

The third Test will be a day-night match in Ahmedabad and is scheduled to get under way on February 24.

Asked if he would look to rotate the team for that game, Root told Channel 4: "It's a difficult time in that respect but we have to manage the best we can.

"You look at the side you put out, there is no question they are a talented bunch of players. Questions will be asked about resting Jimmy Anderson but we replaced him with the number two bowler in the world [Stuart Broad].

"It is very tricky, players are spending long days away from their families, the fact of the matter is we've been outplayed on a wicket which has spun and is very foreign to our batting line-up.

"We've got a period now to have some honest discussions and ask how we're going to manage things. We won't beat ourselves up too much, won't get ahead of ourselves, we'll come back and be fighting for the rest of the series."

 

England squad for third Test against India: Joe Root, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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