Complete British News World

India vs England: Joe Root hit a masterful hundred on the first day of the fourth Test

India vs England: Joe Root hit a masterful hundred on the first day of the fourth Test

  • Written by Stefan Schimmelt
  • Ranchi's chief cricket writer

video caption,

India vs England: Zak Crawley praises Joe Root after his century in Ranchi

Fourth Test, Ranchi (first day of five)

England 302-7: Root 106*, Fox 47; Deep 3-70

Joe Root returned to form when England needed him most with a masterful century on day one of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

After a short over and at the center of controversy over his batting style, Root played a classic Test innings to keep the tourists in the series.

On a breathless morning, England were reduced to 112-5 by some brilliant Indian bowling in extremely difficult conditions.

Akash Deb bowled poison for three wickets on debut and Ben Stokes was helpless to deliver the ball which Ravindra Jadeja managed to smother on the ground.

But Root prevailed over the circumstances, and showed patience, determination and extreme skill in order not to go out 106.

By the end he had led England to a very strong tally of 302-7 as they looked to level the series at 2-2.

Root added 113 for the sixth wicket with Ben Foakes, who made an invaluable 47, and then another 57 with the recovered Ollie Robinson, who accompanied Root to three figures in his unbeaten 31.

When Root drove deep for four, he reached his hundred off 219 deliveries, the slowest of any England batsman since captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took over.

For England, it was a great end to a day that began with news of player Rehan Ahmed returning home due to an urgent family matter.

England read room to stay in the series

England came under criticism after their massive 434-run defeat in the third Test, with some accusing them of being too arrogant and not properly adapting to the nuances of Test cricket.

It would be hard to blame them for the situation they found themselves in during lunch. Yes, they scored nearly five goals in the morning session, but only Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow were out attacking.

India took advantage of these conditions, perhaps thanks to the moisture on the surface and the hardness of the new ball. As the pitch dried out and the ball softened, the batting eased, but that takes nothing away from the way Root and Fox read the situation.

Their partnership, 113 off 261 balls, was England's slowest by over 100 balls in the Stokes McCullum era. The 86 runs at 2.33 points each they scored between lunch and tea was England's slowest scoring session in the same two years.

Praise for England's assertive approach in Ranchi is not a criticism of their preference to be aggressive. There is a time and place for both and here England showed their resilience.

Only time will tell whether their efforts on day one will be enough to force a decisive decision in the fifth Test, but the decisive draw has left India with the proposition of finally batting on a pitch that may prove too difficult for the batsman.

With a top score of 37 in six innings on this tour, Root was on his longest run without a half-century for two years. More worrying was the manner of his dismissal: a wild catch in the second innings of the second Test, then a reverse scoop at Jasprit Bumrah in the first innings of the third.

Whether Root had actually decided to change his approach, or simply adapted to the situation, he was flawless. The former captain's defense was immaculate and he used sweeps and reverse sweeps sparingly.

Root played precise slides to the third man boundary and only scored his first four in front of square off the 126th delivery he faced. There was never a suggestion of a reverse scoop.

Reliable support came from Foakes, who was just on the move by getting 16 – including a six – from Ravichandran Ashwin when he clipped Mohammed Siraj at short mid-wicket.

India were unable to recall Root's nemesis, the rested Bumrah, and the frustrated hosts used all their reviews when Robinson was pinned by Jadeja in the eighth over, with replays showing the ball would have hit the stumps.

Root's celebration of his 31st Test hundred was muted, but happily received by Stokes. He will return on Saturday with an opportunity to put more pressure on the hosts.

Deep trouble in a breathless morning

The pre-match interest on the field indicated that there would be fireworks in Ranchi. Whether it was the conditions, Depp's brilliance or a combination of the two, the dazzling first morning did not disappoint.

The first time Siraj bowled, Zak Crawley had to hold one back by the throat and watch another stay down. Depp hit a solid length shot and brought the ball back to the right-hander.

Crawley took a few hits and was bowled from distance before launching into some stellar strikes. At one point, Siraj followed up three successive overs with a stunning whip for six over long off.

Deep held his nerve. Ben Duckett urged on a ball that left him, Pope advanced to his second ball and was before a very good review. Root survived a review of his first ball and Crawley was bowled through the gate on 42 while Deep produced an exact replica of the previous ball.

Bairstow picked up on Crowley's aggression and seemed to find a form of aggression of his own. He swept Ashwin for six only to fall lbw on review for 38 attempting a similar shot on the same fielder.

When Stokes was lbw at the bowler off Jadeja – the ball did not go beyond ankle height – it created trouble for England and their batsmen throughout the rest of the match. Then came the Masterclass.

“That could be a match-winning run” – reaction

England opener Zak Crawley speaks to TNT Sports about Joe Root: “We are very happy for him and we never doubted him.

“If there is anything we know that when he gets a few low points he is more likely to get a big score and we expected that from him.

“I said before that if we got 280-300 we would be in a very good position, so I stand by that – we are ahead of the game.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “A really good day for England and a brilliant hundred from England's best player in Joe Root. This was a day when England played the situation perfectly.”

Former English player Phil Tufnell: “This could be a successful innings from Joe Root. England got a good result through his determination, application and skill.

“It was a classic Joe Root innings.”

See also  Ingebrigtsen and Grovedal won the double EC cross-country favourite, the Norwegian