Joe returns to his 'Roots'!

23 February,2024 07:40 AM IST |  Ranchi  |  Sandipan Banerjee

England’s No. 4 shuns team’s Bazball approach for a traditionally patient knock the yorkshireman’s known for—106 not out off 226 balls—to rescue visitors from lunch situation of 112-5 to 302-7 at stumps on Day One in Ranchi

England’s Joe Root after his century during Day One of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi yesterday. Pic/AFP

When England needed him the most, Joe Root returned to form with a masterclass unbeaten ton (106 not out) to bail his team out of a position of uncertainty on Day One of Ranchi Test here on Friday. Having lost the last two Tests quite convincingly, and after being pushed to 112 for 5 at the end of the first session, England's hopes of staying alive in the series were fading away rather quickly.

Under these circumstances, their No. 4 showcased why he's being considered as the best English batter ever in sub-continental conditions. Coming into this innings, Root was short of runs (and confidence) and at the centre of a debate around his approach to batting. However, to counter all those negativities, he chose the path to success through a traditional approach, which contradicts England's new flamboyant style, but was the need of the hour. Instead of trying to hit his way out of trouble, like he has been doing of late in the Bazball era, this time Root conquered the tricky conditions, with his patience and determination.

As the early morning moisture of the pitch dried out, Root's primary focus in the second session was to rotate the strike. He used soft hands and tried to play the ball as late as possible to counter the spin threat, especially with the balls that kept low. He was aptly supported by Ben Foakes as the duo steadied the England ship with a 113-run stand (of 261 balls which is England's slowest in excess of 100 under Ben Stokes's leadership) for the sixth wicket. The post-lunch session, which was without any further damage, brought England back in business after India's debutant pacer Akash Deep triggered a dramatic top-order collapse in the first hour of the Test.

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Understanding the skiddy nature of the pitch, Root played his favourite conventional sweep and reverse sweep just once each throughout the entire day - showcasing fine control over his natural instincts throughout the knock. Furthermore, he scored his first four in front of square off the 126th delivery he faced. Root reached his first half-century of the tour in 108 balls.

Post-tea, the ball was reversing and Foakes got out to Mohammed Siraj three runs short of his fifty and Tom Hartley (13) followed him soon. However, Root stood firm and added another 57 with Ollie Robinson (31 not out), reaching his three figures in the 84th over. When he drove Akash through the extra-cover region for a boundary to reach his 31st Test hundred from 219 deliveries, it was the slowest by any English batter in the Stokes-McCullum era. Thanks to Root's patient knock, England ended the day on a satisfactory 302 for 7.

Most No. of Test centuries by a batsman against India

Brief scores
England 302-7 (J Root 106', B Foakes 47, Z Crawley 42; Akash Deep 3-70, M Siraj 2-60) v India

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