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How Root's heroic century rescued England on Day 1

February 23, 2024 17:52 IST
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Joe Root

IMAGE: England's Joe Root celebrates after reaching his century. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Joe Root rescued England with a century on the opening day of the fourth Test against India on Friday, steering the tourists to a respectable 302-7 after Akash Deep took early wickets.

The right-hander responded to the backlash against England's 'Bazball' approach after their drubbing by 434 runs in the third Test, with an unbeaten 106 not out which brought England back into the game from a precarious 112-5 at lunch.


Root's own dismissal in Rajkot -- playing a reverse scoop against Jasprit Bumrah -- was seen as symptomatic of what is wrong with England's ultra-aggressive batting.

Joe Root

IMAGE: Joe Root celebrates his century. Photograph: BCCI

Ollie Robinson was also unbeaten after a useful cameo of 31, relieving the pressure on Ben Stokes, who was earlier left to rue his decision to bat as England lost the top half of their batting order in the frenetic first session.

The hosts' 2-1 cushion in the five-match series allowed them to rest pace spearhead Bumrah, and Akash Deep became the fourth Indian to make his debut in the series.

The right-arm seamer impressed immediately, sending opener Zak Crawley's off-stump cartwheeling in his second over but his celebrations were cut short when the no-ball siren went off.

The 27-year-old seamer soon got over that disappointment by striking twice in three balls.

Akash Deep

IMAGE: Akash Deep celebrates after taking the wicket of Zak Crawley. Photograph: BCCI

Akash dismissed Ben Duckett caught behind for 11 with an angled delivery that prompted a tentative prod from the opener.

Akash waited for confirmation that he had not overstepped and beat his chest in celebration.

Akash Deep

IMAGE: India's players celebrate after Ollie Pope was given out leg before wicket on the review off the bowling of Akash Deep. Photograph: BCCI

Two balls later, Ollie Pope fell lbw for a duck.

Crawley went after Mohammed Siraj, hitting the bowler for three fours in a row and following that up with a huge six.

Akash Deep

IMAGE: Umpire Rod Tucker signals a no-ball as Zak Crawley gets a lifeline. Photograph: BCCI

Enter Akash, who ended Crawley's run-a-ball 42 by hitting the top of his off-stump.

"I was upset with the no-ball not because it was my first Test wicket," Akash told the broadcasters afterwards.

"I was worried it could cost us some runs as Crawley was going after us. I was relieved to get rid of him soon."

Jonny Bairstow (38) has been unusually subdued in the series and he squandered another start by attempting a sweep shot against Ravichandran Ashwin only to be dismissed lbw.

Ben Stokes

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the wicket of Ben Stokes. Photograph: BCCI

Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Stokes lbw for three with the final delivery before the lunch break that stayed low.

With their top half back in the hut, England's capitulation on a spiteful pitch appeared only a matter of time.

But former captain Root had other ideas and combined with Ben Foakes (47) in a century stand denying India any wicket in the second session.

Ben Foakes

IMAGE: Ben Foakes defends. Photograph: BCCI

Siraj returned to remove Foakes and Tom Hartley after the tea break, but Root could not be denied his 31st Test hundred.

Joe Root

IMAGE: Joe Root and Ben Foakes run between the wickets. Photograph: BCCI

Root was lot more judicious in his shotmaking, hitting nine fours in a patient knock.

England said leg-spinner Rehan was returning home for personal reasons.

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