Root rescues England with controlled ton in Ranchi

February 24, 2024

RANCHI, India: 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.

English cricketer right-hander Batsman Joe Root can be seen during the test match. — AFP/File

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. 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 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. 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. 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.

England won the toss

England 1st Innings

Crawley b Akash Deep 42

Duckett c Jurel b Deep 11

Pope lbw b Akash Deep 0

Root not out 106

Bairstow lbw b Ashwin 38

Stokes (c) lbw b Jadeja 3

Foakes c Jadeja b Siraj 47

Hartley b Siraj 13

OllRobinson not out 31

Extras: b 1, lb 6, nb 4 11

Total: 90 Ov (RR: 3.35) 302/7

Yet to bat: Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson

Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-47, 3-57, 4-109, 5-112, 6-225, 7-245

Bowling: Mohammed Siraj 13-3-60-2, Akash Deep 17-0-70-3, Ravindra Jadeja 27-7-55-1, Ravichandran Ashwin 22-1-83-1, Kuldeep Yadav 10-3-21-0, Yashasvi Jaiswal 1-0-6-0

India Team: Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj

Umpire: Dharmasena, Tucker