Joe Root: Ending series 4-1 will make a strong statement

Joe Root is aiming to improve England's poor record playing dead-rubbers and said that Alastair Cook's retirement is an added motivation to win the final Test against India.

England captain Joe Root wants to finish the Test series against India on a winning note.   -  Getty Images

England may have a poor record in dead rubbers, having won none of the last 12 Tests when a series has already been decided (going back to Aug 2011), but Joe Root is keen to end that run.

"My full focus has been on making sure we win this game," the England captain said ahead
of the fifth Test against India at the Oval.

"It’s been an area we’ve not got right in the past and to beat the No.1 side in the world and make it 4-1 would send a really strong statement. It would sum up a good summer of cricket for us in difficult conditions."

Root denied that Alastair Cook's impending retirement would be a distraction. "I don’t think so," he said.

"If anything, it acts as a great motivator for the group. iI means a lot to the whole dressing room and they will be desperate to do everything they can to give him a great send off."

Asked if a disgruntled Jonny Bairstow returning to the wicket-keeper's role meant that an individual had prevailed over the team management, Root said:

"No, definitely not. I made it very clear if he is going to be the Test match wicketkeeper he is going to have to keep working really hard and that he might have been performing well for a long period of time but he’s going to have to keep doing that."