Pope in, decision on Moeen before toss
London, August 8
England skipper Joe Root said that their victory in the seesawing first Test, despite being “not at our best”, had energised the hosts with confidence. “It (the win at Birmingham) fills you with masses of confidence,” Root said on the eve of the second Test. “One of the most exciting things about last week is that we weren’t at our best, certainly there are areas we can improve, but we found a way to win under pressure, and wrestle momentum back in our favour.”“That’s a sign of some strong characters in our dressing room. And having had some indifferent results in the recent past, to pull off a win like that is a really good sign for us moving forward,” he said.“If we can make small improvements in certain areas, and add that to where we were good last week, we will see some improvements from last week.”Having won just three out of their last nine Tests here, England go into this second game with a poor recent record. “Every time you turn up here the surfaces can be quite different. At the start of the summer, we were below par and it would be easy to look too far into that, but against South Africa there was a lot of spin and against India (in 2014) spin came into it a lot in the second innings. That might play a big factor. We’ll have to wait to see what the surface looks like tomorrow morning but ultimately on the last couple of occasions, whoever has played well in the first innings has managed to contain that threat through the rest of the game. So we have to start well and try to stay on top if we can,” he said.It was also announced that 20-year-old Olliver Pope will make his Test debut and bat at No. 4. Root will wait until toss to decide whether to play a second spinner (Moeen Ali) or an extra pacer (Chris Woakes). “With the surface as it is, having looked at it today, we’re going to leave it another 12 hours and then make a decision in the morning. I’m not sure, having played quite a lot here, if it will change a huge amount,” he said.