Root of all prob­lem

> Joe and Ali runs frus­trate bowlers, put Eng­land on top against India

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

JOE ROOT hit a sparkling cen­tury and stitched a cru­cial stand with Moeen Ali as Eng­land cruised to a strong 311-4 on the open­ing day of the first Test against India yes­ter­day. The 25-year-old right-han­der put on 179 runs with Ali (99 not out) af­ter India’s spin­ners had re­duced Eng­land to 102-3 on a placid track at the Saurash­tra Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion ground in Ra­jkot.

At stumps, Ali was just one run shy of his fourth Test cen­tury and Ben Stokes was on 19.

Root smashed 11 fours and a six dur­ing his 124-run knock before be­ing caught and bowled by Umesh Ya­dav, who al­most lost 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 call to bat first on win­ning the toss. 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. Ali put in a fo­cused per­for­mance, ne­go­ti­at­ing 192 balls dur­ing his 243-minute stay at the crease. Root and Ali 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 Haseeb Hameed, 19, be­come the youngest player to open the bat­ting for Eng­land on de­but. The young­ster, dubbed “Baby Boy­cott” for his un­flap­pable style, made 31 dur­ing his 98 min­utes at the crease before fall­ing lbw to world top-ranked spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ashwin (2-108). 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, twice hit­ting Shami for bound­aries in an over and driv­ing Ashwin for an el­e­gant four in the cov­ers. – AFP

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