England’s handling of Dom Bess has echoes of treatment suffered by Adil Rashid - Chris Waters

ENGLAND have already mucked up the Test career of one Yorkshire spinner in Adil Rashid.

Dom Bess took plenty of wickets on the tour to Sri Lanka (Picture: Sri Lanka cricket via ECB)
Dom Bess took plenty of wickets on the tour to Sri Lanka (Picture: Sri Lanka cricket via ECB)

Are they going to make the same mistake with Dom Bess?

The signs are not encouraging.

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Rashid no longer plays red-ball cricket. He has not played a first-class match for over two years. He has lost his love for the first-class game.

In and out of the England Test team - Adil Rashid (Picture: PA)

It is hugely irritating, for there is no doubt that Rashid is England’s best spinner, but it is also not surprising.

For years, Rashid was criminally overlooked to the extent that he played only 19 Tests in a career that brought him over 500 first-class wickets.

Although it was his decision to concentrate on white-ball cricket and his alone, in part to manage a troublesome right shoulder, England’s management of him was regularly poor and it seemed that he was primarily picked to carry around drinks.

Whenever Rashid went on a Test tour, he might have been better off packing a few serving trays as opposed to his cricketing whites.

On the attack: Dom Bess is driven by India cenutry-maker Rishabh Pant. Pictures: Pankaj Nangia/Sportzpics for BCCI

His talents as a leg-spinner were frankly wasted.

With Bess, England have handled him badly on this tour to the sub-continent.

He was taking wickets – 17 in three Tests (two in Sri Lanka, the first Test in India) – and then he got left out on spinning pitches on the back of one bad spell.

To make matters worse, Moeen Ali, who replaced him for the second Test in Chennai and took eight wickets in the helpful conditions, went home after that, never to be seen again, as part of England’s pre-planned rotation policy.

Escape: Ben Foakes goes close to gloving a difficult chance.

Once it became common knowledge that England had actually asked Moeen to stay on tour, as they could no longer trust Bess to produce the goods, his confidence must have taken a knock.

To be left out of the team is one thing; to know that the management has practically gone down on bended knee to another player because they have lost faith in your ability is quite another.

When England bowed to pressure in this game, recalling Bess after the flak they received for only playing one spinner in the third Test, the extra pressure and scrutiny was there.

Unsurprisingly, Bess has struggled again – 0-56 from 15 overs as India reached 294-7 on day two in reply to England’s first innings 205, with too many full tosses and boundary balls interspersed with the frustrated, agonised expressions of a young man desperately trying his best.

Got him: Ben Stokes celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli.

Of course, players must take responsibility for their own performances. There has to be the expectation that if you are playing professional sport at the highest level that you are good enough to be doing so and that you do not need to be wet-nursed.

At the same time, Bess is only 23 and this is just his 51st first-class match. He needs time, patience and careful handling from the England management.

The good news for Bess is that his time will come – if not later in this game, then in years ahead. The good news for Yorkshire is that they are likely to have his services for plenty of County Championship cricket this year.

That is important given that he balances the team with his lower-order batting and also in the absence of Dawid Malan, who in contrast could miss a significant chunk of it due to his white-ball commitments.

A full season of county cricket – and the backing of a Yorkshire set-up that rates him highly – could be just what he needs.

For now, England must focus on trying to get something out of this match, a tall order given their below-par first innings score and a lead that stood at 89 going into day three.

They bowled well overall; there was some lionhearted work from James Anderson and Ben Stokes, who were nevertheless overworked in the sapping heat due to the fact England went in with only two seamers and one extra batsman.

Jack Leach chipped in with his left-arm spin and at one stage India were 146-6, still 59 behind. But then Rishabh Pant took the game away in Adam Gilchrist style with a brilliant hundred that will surely guide India to a 3-1 series win and a place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand this summer.

Pant lashed 101 from 118 balls with 13 fours and two sixes, exploding into life in the final session against the second new ball. He hit the first two deliveries with it, bowled by Anderson, to the long-off boundary and the cover boundary.

Another three boundaries followed in the next over from Stokes – one effortlessly picked up outside off and hit through mid-wicket, another crashed on the up through point, and another aimed on the up over third man.

What happened next, though, will live in the memory.

To the first delivery of Anderson’s next over, Pant treated a man with over 600 Test wickets to his name with contempt, playing an outrageous reverse lap over the slips for four.

Anderson looked bemused, as though he had woken up to discover that the sky had turned green and the grass had gone blue, and when Pant slog-swept Joe Root for six, he had reached a quite magnificent third Test hundred.

Revenge was swift, Anderson inducing a toe-ended pull to midwicket where Root took a screamer to send Pant on his way.

He shared 113 for the seventh-wicket with Washington Sundar, who finished on 60, the tourists looking shot and out on their feet.

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