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Root Comes to England’s Aid

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Joe Root shelves ‘Bazball’ to carry England to 302/7 at stumps
on the opening day of the fourth Test against India

RANCHI, Feb 23: Under-fire Joe Root scored his 31st test century on Friday as England recovered from a poor start to reach 302-7 at stumps on the opening day of the fourth test against India.
Root, who had yet to reach 30 in this series and was widely criticized for his dismissal after a reverse ramp shot in the third test, turned round his poor form and finished the day on 106 not out. He faced 226 balls, with nine fours, and in the process rescued England from a precarious 112-5 at lunch.
India leads the five-match series 2-1.
At stumps, the 33-year-old Root had Ollie Robinson (31 not out) for company, with the visitors losing two wickets in the final session of play. After lunch, England had gone down a gear in a successful bid to rescue the innings as Root and Ben Foakes put on 113 runs for the sixth wicket. The visitors had scored at more than four an over in the morning session, but the rate fell to below three.
England reached 198-5 at tea, scoring 86 runs in the second session spanning 36.5 overs but crucially without losing a wicket.
Afterward, India fought hard for a wicket but had lost two of its reviews earlier in the day. The softer ball also took away some bite off the pitch.
Mohammed Siraj (2-60) got the breakthrough as Foakes was out caught at short midwicket. He scored 47 runs with four fours and a six. Siraj made it a double breakthrough, bowling Tom Hartley for 13, as England was reduced to 245-7.
Root and Robinson stuck around, though, adding 57 for the unbeaten eighth wicket.
Root went on to reach his century off 219 balls, closing out the day for his team in a position of strength, in contrast to the situation at lunch.
In the morning, England had lost five wickets in the first session after winning the toss and opting to bat.
Debutant pacer Akash Deep (3-70) took three wickets to wreck the English top order. Ben Duckett was caught behind for 11, while Ollie Pope was out lbw for a two-ball duck.
Deep bowled Zack Crawley for a run-a-ball 42 as England was down to 57-3 in 11.5 overs.
Root and Jonny Bairstow put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket, before Indian spinners accounted for a wicket each before lunch. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Bairstow lbw for 38, with the help of a DRS review.
Ben Stokes was out lbw for three, beaten by Ravindra Jadeja’s dramatic delivery that kept low.
India leads the series 2-1 after a massive 434-run win in the third test at Rajkot. It also won the second test in Visakhapatnam by 106 runs after England won the first test in Hyderabad by 28 runs.England had named its playing X1 on Thursday, making two changes from the previous game — pacer Robinson came into the side as Mark Wood was rested while offspinner Shoaib Bashir also returned after missing the third test. (AP)

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