Root, Ali frus­trate In­dia in first Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Joe Root said Eng­land played fan­tas­tic cricket yes­ter­day af­ter his sparkling cen­tury helped the tourists reach 311 for four at stumps on the open­ing day of the first Test against In­dia.

The 25-year-old put on 179 with Moeen Ali, who reached the close one run shy of his cen­tury, af­ter In­dia’s spin­ners had re­duced the tourists to 102-3 on a placid track. Ali, who is on the verge of his fourth Test cen­tury, was at the crease with Ben Stokes who was on 19 at Ra­jkot’s Saurash­tra Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion ground.

Root smashed 11 fours and a six dur­ing his 124-run knock be­fore be­ing caught and bowled by Umesh Ya­dav, who al­most dropped the chance as he rushed to cel­e­brate the dis­missal.

With Ali stand­ing tall at one end, Eng­land looked set for a big first in­nings to­tal, vin­di­cat­ing cap­tain Alas­tair Cook’s de­ci­sion to bat first.

Root cel­e­brated his 11th Test ton, and third against In­dia, by wav­ing his bat to­wards a grate­ful Eng­land dress­ing room.

In com­plet­ing the feat, Root be­came the first over­seas player to score a cen­tury in In­dia since Aus­tralia’s Michael Clarke in 2013. “The way we played through­out the day was fan­tas­tic,” Root said af­ter the day’s play. “We al­ways thought that seam bowl­ing would be use­ful early on, but the guys han­dled it well and that al­lowed the boys in the mid­dle or­der to build part­ner­ships. “I look for­ward to watch­ing Moeen bat all day to­mor­row too. It’s pleas­ing, some­thing to build on and a good po­si­tion to be in.”

Ali put in a fo­cused per­for­mance, ne­go­ti­at­ing 192 balls dur­ing his 243-minute stay at the crease. The Root-Ali pair piled on the mis­ery for In­dia who were also set back by an in­jury to pace spear­head Mo­hammed Shami. Ear­lier, a grip­ping open­ing ses­sion saw opener Haseeb Hameed, 19, be­come the fifth youngest player to play for Eng­land.

The young­ster, dubbed “Baby Boy­cott” for his un­flap­pable style, made 31 dur­ing his 98 min­utes at the crease be­fore fall­ing lbw to top-ranked spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win (2-108). Ash­win also dis­missed Ben Duck­ett for 13 but went wick­et­less in the last two ses­sions. Hameed and Cook (21) both ben­e­fited from the largesse of In­dia’s field­ers who dropped some early chances.

Cook was dropped off Shami on the third ball of the in­nings, while Hameed got a re­prieve on 13 when Mu­rali Vi­jay grassed his catch at first slip.

The Eng­land skip­per, who sur­passed Michael Ather­ton’s record of 54 Tests as Eng­land cap­tain, was ad­judged leg be­fore off left-arm spin­ner Ravin­dra Jadeja.

TV re­plays showed the ball would have missed the leg stump but Cook did not re­fer to the third um­pire even though the de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem is be­ing used for the first time by In­dia in a home se­ries.

Hameed showed lit­tle sign of nerves against top-ranked In­dia, hitting Shami for bound­aries twice in an over and driv­ing Ash­win for an el­e­gant four in the cov­ers.

In­dia’s bat­ting coach San­jay Ban­gar con­ceded the sloppy field­ing had cost his side dearly. “They (Eng­land bats­men) ap­plied them­selves re­ally well and made full use of the con­di­tions on of­fer,” he said.

“It’s still day one and had we taken those catches, we could have taken six wick­ets and con­ceded 25-30 less runs.” — AFP

RA­JKOT: Eng­land’s batsman Joe Root raises his hel­met af­ter scor­ing hun­dred runs dur­ing the first day of the first test cricket match be­tween In­dia and Eng­land in Ra­jkot, In­dia, yes­ter­day. — AP

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