'If we're going to be the best team in the world we're going to have to play on good wickets which are flat in certain periods. We're also going to have to be able to learn to deal with the scoreboard pressure. We should also be able to deal with the pressure of spinning wicket towards the back end of the Test match.'
England captain Joe Root believes that the pitch for the Oval Test against India was a "brilliant example" of a good Test track and he would like to see more of these during the home season and the county circuit.
England are having a forgettable summer at home, having lost to New Zealand in June and trailing India 1-2 in the ongoing five-match series.
The wicket at The Oval aided the pacers early on before becoming a batting beauty. On day five, Indian bowlers still managed to get enough out of the track for a famous win.
"Home advantage is always going to be there. In this country at times with the weather, the amount of rain can disrupt how you prepare a pitch. But from my point of view I encourage just really good Test wickets," he said in an online press conference.
"If we're going to be the best team in the world we're going to have to play on good wickets which are flat in certain periods. We're also going to have to be able to learn to deal with the scoreboard pressure.
"We should also be able to deal with the pressure of spinning wicket towards the back end of the Test match," he added.
Preparing a green top can also be counter-productive for England against a high quality India pace attack. Root has not seen the wicket for the fifth Test yet but he has gained a lot of knowledge on the conditions at Old Trafford by playing thrice last year.
"So, from our point of view, I just want English conditions. And hopefully that's what we get this week," Root said ahead of the game beginning Friday.
The skipper said the surface last week was the perfect advertisement for Test cricket and he wants more surfaces like that in county cricket.
"...ultimately it comes down to playing on good wickets. That's part of the challenge. It doesn't really matter what time of year you play. And you look at this last Test match, it is a brilliant example.
"You've got seam and swing in the first innings. It got very good for batting and throughout the middle phases again and then reverse swing came into it later on. I mean, it had been everything for everyone," he explained.
"That's the sort of thing that we should be mirroring in county cricket so guys have to deal with all aspects of the game. You should be able to deliver when conditions are in your favour, but also when it gets flat."
The team management is also yet to decide on resting Ollie Robinson or James Anderson for the final game as they have done majority of bowling this series.
"It is a decision we will take over next couple of days. We'll make make sure that we feel very confident about their fitness and will ask them also (how they feel) when it comes down to selecting," said Root.
Asked if India have handled pressure better in the series, Root disagreed.
"Within this series, there have been half an hour periods of the game where we've not managed it as well as them and it's really cost us. Instead of 2-1 down we could have potentially been 3-0 up."
He also wants his batsmen to be greedy for big scores and is also seeking improvement in slip catching.
Jasprit Bumrah bowled a match-winning spell at The Oval but Root said his players are not wary of him as they have played him well in the Test that England won at Leeds.
"He bowled a brilliant spell. He is one of best fast bowlers in in the world. But we've also played him well a game earlier. And I think it's really important that we remember that as a batting group, we've we've had a good good success against him," he added.
He also confirmed that Jos Buttler will be back as vice-captain of the side after missing the last game and it will likely be a toss-up between Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow in the playing eleven.
Root also confirmed that Buttler will keep wickets in the fifth and final, which makes Jonny Bairstow's place untenable for the match beginning on Friday at Old Trafford.
Buttler missed their 157-run defeat at The Oval to attend the birth of his second child but has been recalled as England head into the final test trailing 2-1.
Bairstow replaced Buttler behind the stumps and took five catches in the match but fell for a duck in the second innings when England's chase unravelled on the final day.
"Jos will be back as the vice-captain and the wicketkeeper," Root told a virtual news conference on Wednesday.
"He's the vice-captain of this team. He is integral to what we're about.
"I know his output in terms of runs this series hasn't been as high as he would have liked, or as we would like, but we know what a great player he is."
Asked if it was harsh to ask Bairstow to vacate the wicketkeeper's role after one match, Root said: "I think Jonny knew exactly what the scenario was when given the opportunity to keep wicket last week."
England have also recalled left-arm spinner Jack Leach but Root made it clear that all-rounder Moeen Ali remained their number one spinner.
"I'm sure Jack will be desperate to take an opportunity if granted one, but we've not seen the pitches," Root said.
"We know what you can get sometimes here at Old Trafford, it can spin and that could be an option that we have to look at with two spinners."