India vs England report: Joe Root and Moeen Ali steer England out of trouble after early wickets

England 209-3: Both Alastair Cook and debutant Haseeb Hameed were out lbw but Root closes in on century to put England in control on day one

David Clough
Rajkot
Wednesday 09 November 2016 08:05
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Cook hit his fifth century in India more than any other player in history
Cook hit his fifth century in India more than any other player in history

Joe Root closed on an 11th Test century to provide an early statement of intent for England and keep them on course for a competitive first-innings total on day one of the first Test against India.

Root (93no) helped his team to a teatime 209 for three, after India's spinners had briefly threatened to derail the tourists' hopes of cashing in on winning the toss in Rajkot.

From 102 for three at lunch, the Yorkshireman continued to drive all the spinners well through the off-side - and picked up runs with the sweep too - as he and Moeen Ali shared an unbroken stand of 107 to consign India to a wicketless session.

England had needed some early fortune to scramble a foothold as openers Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed benefited from dropped chances, only for Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to intervene before lunch.

Cook soon found he was struggling to attune himself on a pitch surprisingly dappled with green and providing some carry for India's new-ball seamers.

His start was alarmingly scratchy, dropped on nought and one - at gully by Ajinkya Rahane when Mohammad Shami went round the wicket to him in the first over and then at second slip by Virat Kohli off Umesh Yadav.

Teenage debutant Hameed, Cook's 10th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss four years ago, had a significant moment of fortune too when he was put down by Murali Vijay at slip off Yadav on 13.

After five overs of pace from each end, India cut to the chase with the introduction of the two spinners who did so much damage in the recent whitewash series win over New Zealand - and they duly began making inroads.

Haseeb Hammed made 31 before being dismissed lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin

To the first delivery after morning drinks, Cook tried to use the turn from Jadeja into the leg-side, but missed the ball - and then after umpire Chris Gaffaney had given him out lbw, he unaccountably did not call for a review.

India have adopted the decision review system for the first time in this series, and simulation demonstrated the ball was going on to miss leg-stump. By then, though, Cook had walked off.

Ashwin then snaked one past Hameed's forward-defensive edge and into the back pad from round the wicket, turning it just enough to be hitting off-stump.

Hameed did review Kumar Dharmasena's lbw decision this time, to no avail.

Joe Root dug in to see England to lunch on 102-3

India's fielding remained slipshod, however, and Root appeared at ease alongside Ben Duckett, who counted two sweeps among three fours in one over off Ashwin.

It was only when the left-hander was caught low at slip by Rahane off Ashwin, from what was therefore the final ball of the morning, that the advantage was with India.

But Root ruled the middle session, and found an able partner in Moeen too, as England took the heat out of Ashwin's fearsome reputation.

As if to prove the point, Moeen greeted the re-introduction of the off-spinner shortly before tea by hitting his first delivery over mid-on for four to bring up the century stand and England's 200.

PA

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