Bess in 'great space' for India series return after England axe

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Dom Bess. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)
Dom Bess. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)

England off-spinner Dom Bess said he was in a "great space" to return to the Test side after the disappointment of being dropped following the first match of the series in India.

Bess could well be back in Joe Root's side for the concluding fourth Test in Ahmedabad starting on Thursday, which England need to win to draw the series 2-2.

The tourists will be playing at the same ground where they lost embarrassingly inside two days last week after opting for a seam-dominated attack on a spin-friendly pitch.

Dom Bess took 17 wickets in the first three Tests of England's 2021 tour -- two matches in Sri Lanka and the series-opening win in Chennai.

But he also struggled to bowl a consistent line and length and was replaced by Moeen Ali for the second Test, also in Chennai, which England lost heavily.

Even when fellow off-spinner Moeen was unavailable for last week's third Test, following a pre-arranged rest break, England decided it was still too risky to play Bess.

Joe Root took a stunning five wickets for eight runs with his occasional off-breaks during India's first innings, showing the value of having a spinner to back up Jack Leach.

"It was certainly a tough pill to swallow," Bess said on Wednesday, recalling his emotions after being dropped. "I didn't see it around 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. I'm always trying to get better, whether thinking about it or doing it physically."

Bess, known for his bubbly on-field personality, added: "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."

Asked if he felt ready to face an India side bidding for a place in the inaugural World Test Championship final, the 23-year-old Bess replied: "I certainly am.

"It's a massive honour to play for your country. I'll always give my all. I'm in a great space right now to come back in.

"It's been tough to watch these last two games as it's been spinning. There's always going to be pressure, but I'd rather be bowling on spinning wickets than green ones at Trent Bridge (Nottingham) or somewhere."

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