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23-Feb-2024 12:42:00 GMT
Ind vs Eng - 4th Test, Ranchi

Masterful Root hundred rallies England in 4th Test

England 302 for 7 (Root 106*, Foakes 47, Deep 3-70, Siraj 2-60) vs India

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

Short of runs and at the centre of a debate around his approach to batting, Root played a classical Test innings to keep the tourists in the series.

In a breathless morning, England were reduced to 112-5 by some superb India bowling in highly testing conditions.

Akash Deep bowled with venom for three wickets on debut and Ben Stokes was helpless to a delivery that Ravindra Jadeja got to scuttle along the ground.

But Root conquered the conditions, showing patience, determination and supreme skill for his 106 not out.

By the close he had taken England to a very strong 302-7 as they look to level the series at 2-2.

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

When Root drove Deep for four, he reached his hundred from 219 deliveries, the slowest by any England batter since captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum took charge.

For England, it was a fantastic ending to a day that began with the news leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has returned home because of an urgent family matter.

With a highest a score of 37 in six innings on this tour, Root was in his longest run without a half-century for two years. Of more concern were the manner of his dismissals: a wild swipe 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 already decided to alter his approach, or simply adjusted to the situation, he was flawless. The former captain's defence was immaculate and he used the sweep and reverse-sweep sparingly.

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

Dependable support came from Foakes, who was just moving through the gears by taking 16 - including a six - off a Ravichandran Ashwin over when he clipped Mohammad Siraj to short mid-wicket.

India could not call upon Root's nemesis, the rested Bumrah, and the frustrated hosts had used all their reviews when Robinson was pinned by Jadeja on eight, with replays showing the ball would have hit the stumps.

Root's celebration for his 31st Test hundred was muted, but greeted with delight by Stokes. He will return on Saturday with the opportunity to put further pressure on the home side.

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