If the result of the India versus England series so far is any indication, the Trent Bridge spat between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja surely had a positive spin on the home team. While the ICC's decision not to challenge the judicial commissioner's 'no-guilty' decision left Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co. sulking, England only added more muscle to their on-field performance.
India go into the fifth and final Test at the Oval on Friday down 2-1. After a high in the second Test at Lord's, India's batting performance has gone from bad to worse with wickets falling in a heap in a session in the third and fourth Tests at Southampton and Manchester. While Dhoni ponders over team selection and a formula to arrest the slide, England are on a definite high. The row between Anderson and Jadeja and the 'reprieve' from ICC has acted like a booster dose for England.
Joe Root has revealed how the Anderson-Jadeja incident made England more determined not only to stay united but to land a blow on the Indians every time they met on the field.
Â "It gave us another incentive to want to throw a punch back at them," Root said. "We've stayed really tight as a side even when we were struggling at Lord's, but that incident did make us slightly more tight. We didn't let it affect us."
Anderson, too, has bowled with a lot of fire while Jadeja has done precious little to establish his Test credentials. Anderson has put England in an unbeatable position.
"It is exciting," Root said. "We've not been in this position for a while with the opportunity to win a series. We will really try to nail down what has been a good little bit of form in the last two games. If we can make it three wins that will be great."
But England won't be complacent at the Oval for sure. With Ishant Sharma expected to return, England are working overtime to harness the short-pitched deliveries that knocked them out at Lord's where India won by 95 runs.
"That (the short ball) will be one area a lot of the lads will be working on," Root said. "We're definitely not going to take India lightly. We know they're going to come very hard at us, and we'll be making sure we do everything we can to get our minds right for Friday."