England must reflect on the way they started their Test tour of the sub-continent in January as they bid to end it in style later this week, says Yorkshire all-rounder Jordan Thompson.
Joe Root’s side are aiming to secure a 2-2 draw against India in Ahmedabad from Thursday morning (4am UK).
After winning their two-Test series in Sri Lanka 2-0 in January, they went on a take a 1-0 series lead over India with a resounding victory in Chennai.
But they have been convincingly beaten in the second and third Tests, including most recently inside two days in Ahmedabad last week.
The spin-friendly nature of the pitch came in for heavy criticism from pundits and supporters alike, with spinners taking 28 of 30 wickets to fall.
However, as long as they put that to the back of their minds quickly, Thompson believes a positive outcome can be achieved.
“The way they played in Sri Lanka and also in the first two Tests in India, there has been a lot to be happy about,” he said. “They’ve lost the last two Tests, but they’ve shown they are very capable of coming back and drawing the series.
“It’s not been a settled team, with players coming and going throughout both series.
“It hasn’t been like, say, a normal Ashes series at home when you wouldn’t chop and change.
“They’ve been unable to do that with the bubble situation and the need for rest here and there. So there has been plenty to be positive about.”
Thompson continued: “I just hope that fourth Test goes on longer for entertainment’s sake.
“You can talk about wickets falling being good to watch, but when they fall at that rate and with the pitch in that condition, it does look a bit silly.
“You have to have Test Matches going on longer than that, no matter how badly the teams bat or how well they bowl. It’s got to be more of a contest.
“The best first-class games to play in are the ones when you know you’re in the game as a batter and a bowler. But that third Test, it was either go out and survive or go out and play your shots. There wasn’t really an in between.
“You just couldn’t build an innings and kick on.
“I saw a stat where it was something like 21 wickets fell to spin against balls which went straight on.
“The reason behind that was that, from day one, balls were turning half a yard. As soon as you see that, you’re going to start playing for spin and wickets will fall to balls which go straight on.
“I didn’t really understand the argument behind that behind particularly poor batting.”
Given the level of criticism the pitch received, it would be a major surprise to see the Indians produce a replica this week.
But if they do, Thompson says England have to be positive – not so much on the pitch, but off it.
He added: “As a team, on a pitch like that, you just have to try your best to put it to the back of your mind and bat as if it’s a much better one.
“You certainly can’t have people coming back into the changing room saying, ‘Oh, this pitch is rubbish, there’s not much you can do out there’. It’s all about taking that negativity away and try to be positive.
“But there’s always going to be doubt in the back of our mind, especially in the second innings having seen what happened in the first.”