India vs England | Root and Ali put England in the front seat

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India vs England | Root and Ali put England in the front seat

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SportsCafe Desk

11/09/2016

Englishmen Joe Root and Moeen Ali decimated the Indian bowling lineup to put England in a very comfortable position in the first Test match in Rajkot today. The duo had a 179- run partnership before Root was finally dismissed for 124 while Ali ended the day with an unbeaten 99.

Brief Scores: England 311/4 (Joe Root 124, Moeen Ali 99*; R Ashwin 2/108, R Jadeja 1/59)

In the build up to the series between two powers of Test cricket India and England, the odds was heavily tilted in favour of the hosts given their spin bowling resources. But England's batting lineup, that had gone through a torrid run in the recently concluded series against Bangladesh, showed grit and determination to nullify Indian bowlers’ tricks.

England get off to a good start

The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot, which is hosting its first-ever Test match, saw Virat Kohli losing the toss for the first time in a while as England chose to bat first. Despite the wicket providing a little help for the bowlers in the first hour, India missed two chances in the slips that gave England a decent start to the match. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami hit the right lengths continuously, but English openers Alastair Cook and debutant Haseeb Hameed continued to score consistently.

Ashwin and India fight back

Haseeb, the fifth-youngest player to play for England, seemed more composed than his senior partner in the opening hour of the game. After struggling to get going, local lad Ravindra Jadeja gave India the first breakthrough by catching the English skipper plumb in front just after the drinks break. With the wicket having nothing much on offer for the spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin operated without much success. But the discipline in hitting the length reaped him dividends as he trapped Hameed with a straighter delivery. Rahane's low diving catch at slip, off an Ashwin delivery, sent Duckett back to the dressing room as the teams made their way back to the pavilion for lunch with the scoreboard reading 102/3. India looked to be in control with the first session of the day done and dusted.

England recover well through Root and Ali

Following lunch, Moeen Ali joined Root at the crease and the duo put up a show for the English fans. The right hand-left hand combination proved to be difficult for the Indian team to break down as both players started scoring freely on both sides of the wicket. At the end of the second session, when the teams broke for tea, the English duo had added 107 runs to the total in thrity overs to take the English score to 209/3. After tea, it took Root three overs to reach his 11th Test hundred, while Ali reached his half-century. The run flow continued as both players were putting away the loose deliveries easily, and the Indian bowlers were struggling to trouble the Englishmen.

When the breakthrough did arrive, it came in controversial circumstances when Joe Root was adjudged caught out when his shot back at Umesh Yadav was caught by the bowler. The decision was referred to the third umpire as Yadav appeared to have fumbled the ball. The third umpire sided with Yadav, and Root had to make his way back after a well-made 124(180). Following the end of the 179-run partnership, Ali was joined at the crease by Stokes and the duo made sure that no more wickets were lost as England ended the day on 311/4.

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