Root: Inner belief and steel saw England through

England edged to a 31-run win over India in an entertaining first Test, with Joe Root crediting his side's character for the victory.

Joe Root commiserates Hardik Pandya   -  Getty Images

Joe Root hailed England's self-belief after they came through a rollercoaster first Test against India with a 1-0 series lead.

England collapsed late in their first innings, allowed Virat Kohli to smash 149 in response and then struggled badly with the bat the second time around, but Ben Stokes came good on Saturday with three wickets to edge to a 31-run win.

 

And while Root had praise for his bowlers, he preferred to focus on the team's spirit and character required to bounce back from numerous setbacks at Edgbaston.

"I'm obviously thrilled to bits," Root said. "It was a fantastic team performance and there's been ups and downs throughout.

"Credit has to go to both bowling sides more than anything. The easy thing to do is to criticise the batters, but it was a very challenging pitch over the course of three and a bit days.

"We still had to deliver. I asked the guys to go out and play with some passion, with belief, and if we stayed calm through that, we'd give ourselves the best chance.

"I felt quite calm. I might not have appeared to be. That atmosphere was what it's about and it's what makes Test cricket so brilliant.

"It can throw so many different things at you over the course of three or four days. You have to think your way around it and stay strong as a group.

"Keep believing in one another and special things can happen.

"It shows that there's so much more than just skill and runs and wickets when it comes to Test cricket. You've got to have an inner belief and steeliness, which I see a lot of in our dressing room.

"That carries a lot of weight when it really matters at this level."

Stokes was the star man on Saturday, but he insisted he was just pleased to be involved after a draining, thrilling week.

"[Friday] night we set it up brilliantly. Some credit to Sam Curran, the way he came out and played at such a young age, that was a big turning point in this Test match," he said of the seamer's pivotal second-innings knock of 63.

"It was just great to be a part of this game. I'm proud to be a part of this group. Playing for England means so much. It's a great start to this tough five-match series and, being 1-0 up, we're in the box seat."