Root puts Eng­land on top

No. 3 is first vis­it­ing bats­man to score a ton in In­dia since 2013

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

I t was a day of his­toric landmarks in Gu­jarat, as Ra­jkot be­came In­dia’s 23rd Test venue and played host to the open­ing game of the first five-match Test se­ries be­ing played in In­dia since 1987.

But it was Eng­land who ended the day on top thanks to the bril­liance of Joe Root and Moeen Ali.

Hav­ing breathed a sigh of re­lief that the pitch was noth­ing like the dust bowls they found in Bangladesh, Eng­land ended the day in a strong po­si­tion at 311-4 thanks in large to a 179-run fourth wicket stand be­tween Root and Ali.

Root kept the score­board mov­ing as he con­verted his 13th fifty of the sea­son into a cen­tury, be­com­ing the first vis­it­ing bats­man to score a cen­tury in In­dia since Michael Clarke in Fe­bru­ary 2013.

Ali also ex­celled as he ended the day just one run short of his ton.

“Moeen played ex­tremely well,” said Root.

“He is still there and hope­fully I can look for­ward to watch­ing him bat all day as well. We’re in a good po­si­tion now mov­ing for­ward to the rest of the game.”

Ear­lier, both of Eng­land’s open­ers got a slice of luck that they were un­able to cap­i­talise on as Alas­tair Cook, who was dropped twice, fell for 21 and debu­tant Haseeb Hameed made 31 on his de­but af­ter be­ing dropped by Mo­hammed Shami. To add in­sult to In­dia’s sloppy field­ing their re­verse-swing ex­pert Shami pulled up with a ham­string strain and went off the field tem­po­rar­ily, only to re­turn later, but with a no­tice­ably cau­tious ap­proach to the crease and re­duced pace. In the ses­sion af­ter lunch Eng­land started to dom­i­nate and both bats­men stepped out of the crease and used a much wider range of strokes to good ef­fect.

Root looked set for an­other one of his marathon in­nings but against the run of play Umesh Yadav was quick to latch on to a drive di­rect back at him off his own bowl­ing. He jug­gled the ball be­fore throw­ing it in cel­e­bra­tion, with um­pire Ku­mar Dhar­masena even­tu­ally de­cid­ing heds held it for long enough and Root had to walk back af­ter mak­ing 124 from 180.

“I was just dis­gusted with the shot I played. You get that de­ci­sion, and you see the slow motion on the screen and you just have to ac­cept it,” added Root.

Mean­while, there was a land­mark for Ben Stokes who made his first Test runs against In­dia as he came on in the fi­nal ses­sion of the day. His pre­vi­ous scores against the hosts were 0, 0 and 0 in his three Tests.

Day two of the ac­tion gets un­der way at 8am UAE time.

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