Moeen Ali's the man for England

Updated: 20 December, 2016 09:39 IST | PA Sport |

Moeen Ali took centre stage with an unbeaten hundred as England overcame their sticky start to the fifth Test against India. All-rounder's unbeaten 120 helps visitors reach 284-4 on Day One

England number four batsman Moeen Ali celebrates his hundred on Day One of the fifth Test against India in Chennai yesterday. Pic/AFP

Chennai: Moeen Ali took centre stage with an unbeaten hundred as England overcame their sticky start to the fifth Test against India.

Joe Root (88) and Jonny Bairstow fell 10 and 12 runs short respectively of their fellow Yorkshire batsman Michael Vaughan's 2002 all-time English record of 1,481 runs in a calendar year.

It therefore fell to Moeen (120no) to finish what he started with a 203-ball century, his fifth in Tests and first at the number four position he has inherited on this tough tour, out of a stumps total of 284 for four at the MA Chidambaram Stadium yesterday.

For good measure, when he moved to 108, the all-rounder became the fourth England batsman this year to pass 1,000 Test runs — a feat achieved just once previously by any team from this country, a decade ago.

England's prosperity, after Alastair Cook won his fourth toss out of five, was a world away from the troubles of 21 for two — not to mention the strife which has beset them for much of a series lost in Mumbai last week, when they went 3-0 down with just this final match to play.

Root oversaw the initial stages of recovery, after openers Cook and Keaton Jennings both went in the first hour. He will almost certainly have one more innings here to overtake Vaughan's record — but has already taken his uncanny sequence of at least a half-century in each Test he has played against India to 11 since he made 73 on debut in Nagpur in 2012. Root and Moeen's third-wicket partnership of 146 was a slow-burner, in stifling conditions, but a precious and increasingly proactive one.

India and England players observe a minute’s silence before start of play in Chennai yesterday. Pic/PTI

Moeen — dropped on nought when he flicked his first runs through the outstretched hands and over the head of KL Rahul at midwicket, off Ravindra Jadeja (three for 73) — was then circumspect on the way to just seven from 44 balls at lunch.

But in early afternoon, he brought up the half-century stand with a swept four off Ravi Ashwin — a shot Root would repeat within the hour to take their alliance into three figures.

Moeen too had another escape, on 83, when umpire's call came to his aid after Amit Mishra went to DRS for lbw with a leg-break which struck the left-hander in line but was not quite going on to hit enough of leg-stump.
Cook, who will be 32 on Christmas Day, was responsible for the day's first notable statistic when he became the youngest man to reach 11,000 runs with a push off Umesh Yadav to cover — where a misfield brought him two to start the Test.

No. of England batsmen to get two or more 100s in a Test series in India before Moeen Ali — Alastair Cook, Ken Barrington, Colin Cowdrey, Mike Gatting and Andrew Strauss

A minute's silence for victims & Jaya
A minute's silence was observed before play and both teams wore black armbands in memory of the victims of Cyclone Vardah which hit Chennai recently and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, who passed away in Chennai last week.

Stats corner

  • Virat Kohli became the 13th Indian fielder to complete 50 catches or more in Tests
  • Alastair Cook is the tenth batsman to complete 11,000 runs in Tests
  • Joe Root has got a 50-plus score in 11 consecutive Tests against India, the most by anyone against a team

First Published: 17 December, 2016 09:14 IST

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