Root celebrates 100th Test with another hundred as England make assured start

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

Joe Root once again led from the front for England, marking his 100th Test match with another glorious hundred against India in Chennai.

Visiting captain Root came to the crease before lunch on day one of the first Test after the tourists lost Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence, the latter for nought, with the score on 63.

Alongside opener Dom Sibley, who was trapped lbw for a typically robust 87 by Jasprit Bumrah from the final ball of the day, Root came through a stern examination before making hay as the India attack tired.

It was another sparkling display from the 30-year-old right-hander, whose 128 not out followed scores of 228 and 186 during last month's 2-0 win in Sri Lanka and left England 263-3 at stumps.

Rory Burns was back at the top of the England order having sat out the previous tour due to the birth of his first child and the Surrey left-hander looked in fine touch after Root won the toss, delightfully clipping Ravichandran Ashwin through midwicket after he and Sibley brought up the fifty partnership.

But Ashwin (1-68) had his revenge in an awful moment for Burns, who misjudged a reverse sweep to loop a simple catch to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and depart for 33.

Lawrence was promoted up the order after Zak Crawley was ruled out with a sprained wrist, and India skipper Virat Kohli decided to see how he might fare against quality pace bowling. He soon had an answer as Bumrah (2-40) found reverse swing to pin the Essex man in front.

Root survived a strong lbw appeal from Ishant Sharma and he and Sibley were forced to dig in against some high standard bowling either side of lunch.

Again displaying impeccable balance and judgement, Root initially put away the sweep shot that served him so well in Sri Lanka and was watchful against Ashwin and slow left-armer Shahbaz Nadeem on a surface displaying more bounce than expected.

He started to move through the repertoire when all-rounder Washington Sundar entered the attack. The partnership was 77 when England reached tea at 140-2, with Sibley through to a half-century.

They motored on in the evening session, with Root reaching three figures with a trademark tuck behind square into the leg side before shedding his earlier inhibitions and bludgeoning Ashwin for a slog-swept six. He must continue on Saturday without Sibley, whose 286-ball vigil came to a cruel end.

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