Root & Moeen put Eng­land in charge against In­dia

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

RA­JKOT —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 124run 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).

Ash­win also dis­missed Ben Duck­ett for 13 but re­mained 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 topranked In­dia, twice hit­ting Shami for bound­aries in an over and driv­ing Ash­win for an el­e­gant four in the cov­ers.

Mean­while, For­mer Proteas skip­per Graeme Smith be­lieves there are se­ri­ous problems in Aus­tralian cricket that stem from a loss of their cul­ture.

Smith led the Proteas to two hard-fought Test se­ries wins in Aus­tralia and be­lieves cricket in the coun­try has mul­ti­ple is­sues.

The for­mer Proteas cap­tain was crit­i­cal of the ro­ta­tion pol­icy in use this sea­son as well as the pres­sure placed on skip­per Steve Smith.

At a gala din­ner at the SCG Smith said: “There is ob­vi­ously a lack of con­fi­dence that has de­vel­oped, maybe through th­ese losses, and the way they col­lapsed and fell away in that Perth Test.

“To me, it showed that maybe, there is a lack of con­fi­dence or self-be­lief in that set-up at the mo­ment. It does show me that there is some­thing that’s not right there.— BBC.

Eng­land’s Joe Root (right) plays a shot

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