Joe Root believes he must keep “evolving” as a batter or risk being exposed after returning to form as England moved into the ascendancy against India in Ranchi.

Root’s sparkling 122 not out ushered England from 112 for five to 353 all out in the fourth Test as the Yorkshireman ended a lean patch which had seen him collect just 77 runs in six previous innings.

A couple of attack-orientated dismissals brought scrutiny on whether Root needed to tailor his approach – one that has brought more than 11,000 Test runs – to suit England’s current ‘Bazball’ model.

But when asked whether he has been stung by recent criticism, Root gave an impassioned defence of England’s style and insisted he must continue to develop to remain among the world’s top-tier batters.

“Certainly the execution of the shots has weighed on me,” the former England captain said. “Not necessarily the selection but the execution – I’m better than that.

“It’s not about being arrogant. Bazball is a word that’s used a lot but that’s your word, that’s not how we look at it. It’s about how can we get the best out of each other as a team. You’re not always going to get it right (but) we’ll continue to keep trying to improve.

“The reason I’ve played as many games as I have is that I’ve not wanted to stand still as a player, I have to try to keep evolving.

“If you keep on trying to play the same way over and over again, teams work you out and they find your weaknesses. If you don’t try to get better and find different ways of scoring runs, you’ll get found out.”

Root played a more traditional Test innings en route to his 31st hundred in the format before Shoaib Bashir exploited helpful conditions to finish with four for 84 as India closed on 219 for seven.

Root kept his reverse ramp out of sight and admitted a brief inkling of unfurling it to bring up three figures was quickly banished.

“It was a fleeting and selfish thought that left my mind very quickly,” Root said. “You don’t mess with the game, you just try and play what you honestly think is the best way to score runs.

“It was nice to finally get some runs in this series. It felt like it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s been disappointing but the fact I have got quite a lot of experience has been able to keep me calm. The way I’m preparing meant it was going to come at some point.”

Bashir bowled 31 overs at one end in just his eighth first-class match and second Test, with the 20-year-old offering control and a wicket-taking threat on a pitch producing spin and uneven bounce.

Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made 73 before bottom-edging on to his stumps.

“The way he bowls is a great little insight into his character and personality: he is quite cheeky and great fun to be around,” Root said.

“To be able to continually put pressure on some very good players of spin, I know the wicket was helpful at times but he did an amazing job and it’s a great sign for English cricket.”

Bashir’s success left Root “itching to get on” after only being called upon to bowl a single over.

But he added: “It’s nice for Stokesy to be able to put so much trust in a young guy that’s played so little Test cricket.

“You can see he wants it, he’s desperate to do his part and and it was great to see him get rewards for that.”

Shoaib Bashir took top billing on his recall with a career-best four for 84 as England seized control of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

After England were all out for 353 on the second morning, as Joe Root finished unbeaten on 122, Bashir was entrusted at one end following a short burst from the seamers and the decision paid rich dividends.

In his eighth first-class match and second Test, Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal.

The India opener has been a constant thorn in England’s side and top-scored with 73, but he was not the only member of his side to fall victim to variable bounce as the hosts went to stumps on 219 for seven, trailing by 134 runs.

Tom Hartley, curiously held back until the 32nd over, chipped in with two for 47 but this was Bashir’s day, as the 20-year-old vindicated his selection after being omitted for England’s defeat in Rajkot.

He came into this series with a first-class bowling average of 67 but is making sure England are not feeling the absence of senior spinner Jack Leach, who announced on Saturday he will undergo surgery on a knee injury which cut short his tour.

Bashir, who took four wickets in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, bowled 31 consecutive overs from one end and exploited helpful conditions as England, trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, put India under the pump.

Days after Ben Stokes admitted he would like to see umpire’s call abolished, England had three on-field decisions upheld as Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar and Ravichandran Ashwin reviewed their dismissals in vain.

There was no debating the breakthrough as James Anderson claimed Test wicket 697 after a flat-footed Rohit Sharma nicked through to Ben Foakes but Ollie Robinson was luckless, twice drawing the outside edge of Jaiswal either side of lunch.

The first dropped clearly short of Zak Crawley before disappearing for Jaiswal’s first four, but Foakes and England were convinced the second chance was taken cleanly and were momentarily stunned when third umpire Joel Wilson ruled against them, with Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

Jaiswal earlier punished Anderson then Robinson for over-pitching with back-to-back fours and showed his range by shimmying down to Bashir and bludgeoning over long-on – his 23rd six of the series.

It was a rare misstep from Bashir, introduced as early as the ninth over just before lunch, as he settled into a mammoth spell, offering initial control and refusing to allow Jaiswal or Gill to dominate before ending an 82-run stand just as England looked to be running short of ideas.

Gill departed for 38 after being rapped on the front pad, beaten on the inside edge and playing down the wrong line, and a decent stride failed to save him on review as he was umpire’s call on impact.

It was just the second lbw of Bashir’s professional career and he did not have to wait long for his third as Patidar was out for 17, with a referral showing the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Ravindra Jadeja took successive sixes off fellow left-arm spinner Hartley, but these were his only scoring shots as he was deceived by extra bounce from Bashir’s top-spinner and plopped a simple bat-pad chance to Ollie Pope in the afternoon gloom.

Jaiswal launched a brief counteroffensive after tea with a late cut and inside-out drive over extra cover for fours off Bashir, who had his revenge and the wicket England prized most when one delivery stayed low and squirted off the toe-end of the opener’s bat before crashing into the stumps.

With the floodlights on, Hartley got into the act, drawing Sarfaraz Khan’s edge which was spectacularly caught by Root, diving to his left at slip, while Ashwin was lbw to a grubber and another India review went England’s way because of the on-field call.

Dhruv Jurel (30 not out) and Kuldeep Yadav (17no) put on an unbroken 42 but the momentum is firmly with the tourists on a tricky pitch.

England earlier added 49 to their overnight score, largely thanks to Robinson, who registered his maiden Test fifty and took his stand with Root to 102 before a reverse sweep brushed his glove en route to Jurel.

Robinson’s departure for 58 was the start of England losing their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Root left stranded having added just 16 to his day one total.

Shoaib Bashir claimed three top-order wickets but England were again met with resistance from in-form India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal in Ranchi.

Joe Root (122 not out) and Ollie Robinson (58) helped England add 51 to an overnight 302 for seven but they lost their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls on the second morning of the fourth Test.

James Anderson snared Rohit Sharma to move to within three of 700 Test wickets before the recalled Bashir trapped Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar lbw and had Ravindra Jadeja caught bat-pad as India went to tea on 131 for four.

Jaiswal (54 not out) was immovable on a pitch which, despite the odd delivery keeping low, was devoid of the gremlins that had given England’s top-order major problems 24 hours earlier.

Robinson, in his first competitive appearance since July, twice drew the edge of Jaiswal but the ball bounced short of Zak Crawley then Ben Stokes, the latter much to England’s obvious chagrin.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge on the way through to Ben Foakes, but while Robinson did likewise to Jaiswal, the ball dropped in front of a diving Crawley at second slip before scurrying away for the opener’s first four.

Robinson was memorably chided during the Ashes for bowling “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and the seamer did not do much to shed the tag as he operated in the mid-70mph range.

But he engaged in a fascinating tussle with Jaiswal, who pushed at a wider delivery after lunch and Foakes dived forward to take the edge, only for third umpire Joel Wilson to rule the ball had bounced.

England celebrated before the ‘not out’ verdict was returned on the two big screens and England were momentarily stunned, with captain Ben Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

At the other end, Bashir was probing away and while he was dumped back over his head for six by Jaiswal, the off-spinner, in just his second Test, extracted some turn to beat both Gill (38) and Patidar (12) on the inside edge and gain leg-before verdicts.

Tom Hartley was not introduced until the 32nd over and was thumped for back-to-back sixes by Ravindra Jadeja, who was the undone by extra bounce from Bashir and popped a catch to Ollie Pope at short leg.

Earlier, India took the new ball after two deliveries but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson collected three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog-sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw. Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with four for 67.

James Anderson snared India captain Rohit Sharma after Joe Root was left stranded on 122 not out as England were all out for 353 on the second morning of the fourth Test.

Anderson kissed the outside edge of Rohit’s bat as India went to lunch on 34 for one in Ranchi after Ollie Robinson registered his maiden Test fifty in a 102-run stand with Root, who added 16 runs to his overnight score.

Robinson’s dismissal for 58 was the start of England losing their final three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Jadeja taking three dismissals to finish with figures of four for 67, as Root ran out of partners.

Robinson, who got away with an lbw decision off Jadeja on Friday evening because India had used all their reviews, took the attack to India’s bowlers on a pitch with very few of the demons seen on the first morning, although the odd delivery still kept low.

India took the new ball after two deliveries as England resumed on 302 for seven, but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson took three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw.

Ben Stokes warmed up alongside the bowlers before India had to negotiate a 45-minute period before lunch but it was Anderson and Robinson, making his first competitive appearance since last July, entrusted with the new ball.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge.

Robinson, whose bowling was famously described as “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” in the Ashes by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, did not touch 80mph but drew the edge of Yashasvi Jaiswal only for the ball to bounce short of Zak Crawley and disappear for four.

Robinson beat the outside edge on a couple of occasions but was then driven by Jaiswal, who has made double hundreds in his last two Tests, for his fifth four in the over before lunch.

Zak Crawley insisted there was never any doubt “phenomenal” Joe Root would return to form for England following his unbeaten century against India.

Root came into the fourth Test having not reached 30 in the series while a couple of uncharacteristic dismissals recently led to scrutiny on whether he should tailor his methods to fit the ‘Bazball’ philosophy.

The argument has been Root does not need to alter his approach and he put his lean patch behind him with a more traditional Test innings to amass 106 not out as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

The 33-year-old rescued England after they had slipped to 112 for five in a helter-skelter opening session on a cracked Ranchi pitch and Crawley believes the Yorkshireman is the only batter who could have dug the tourists out of the fire.

“He’s probably the only bloke in our team who could have done that knock, he’s that good and he’s stepped up when we needed him to,” Crawley said.

“He’s a phenomenal player. We fully expected him to get a good score at some point in this series. He was due, he’s the best player we’ve ever had and he played phenomenally.

“We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He deserves everything he gets, he works so hard at his game and he always comes good.”

Root’s 31st Test hundred – brought up off 219 balls, the slowest century by any England batter under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum – was marked in understated fashion as he kissed the badge on his helmet and raised his bat to team-mates who were celebrating enthusiastically on the dressing-room balcony.

There was no sign of the reverse ramp he had gotten out to in Rajkot, which proved a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat as they went 2-1 down in the five-match series, while conventional and reverse sweeps were rare occurrences.

Root was unbreachable in defence, judicious off front and back foot and unfurled his customary late cuts and leg glances behind square, while there was also the odd cover drive.

Crawley, though, insisted a surface offering early movement and uneven bounce throughout dictated Root’s more classical innings, rather than widespread criticism he has faced in the last few days.

“If the pitch had been truer, I reckon he would have still played those shots,” Crawley said.

“It might have just been the variable bounce which stopped him sweeping and paddling, it wasn’t really the pitch for that kind of thing; it was too inconsistent.

“In Dharamshala (which will host the fifth Test), it’s a flatter wicket, I’d fully expect him to reverse ramp one. That’s just Joe. He’s very present when he bats and doesn’t overthink too much.”

England went at 4.63 an over in the morning thanks to counter-attacking knocks from Crawley, who made a run-a-ball 42, and Jonny Bairstow’s 38 off 35 deliveries.

But the tricky surface, rather than a brain fade, was largely responsible for England’s precarious position at lunch, with Crawley bowled twice by Akash Deep, the first off a no-ball, as the India debutant bagged a three-wicket haul.

While the odd one still kept low, batting conditions improved upon the resumption as Root and Ben Foakes (47) combined to put on 113 to stabilise the tourists.

Crawley hopes England’s seamers can make similar inroads with the new ball but anticipates spin to dominate for the remainder of the match.

“I got out still fairly early but it looked like it wasn’t bouncing anywhere near as much or as quickly as earlier on against seam,” Crawley added.

“It got harder against the spin, it will continue to break up. It might be a new-ball wicket, hopefully it is when we bowl but the I think the spin’s only going to get harder.”

England batter Zak Crawley hailed Joe Root’s spectacular return to form after the Yorkshire star hit an unbeaten 106 to leave his side in a strong position at stumps on the first day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

Having averaged 12.83 after his first three matches of the series, Root produced a superb performance, including a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, which Crawley believes rubber-stamped his team-mate as one of the best batters in his country’s history.

Crawley told TNT Sports: “We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He’s phenomenal, and he’s one of, if not the best we’ve ever had playing for England.”

England initially struggled on an unpredictable pitch with Crawley bowled by Akash Deep on 42, but the opener praised the way the tourists hit back to reach 302 for seven at close.

Jonny Bairstow made a rapid 38 while Foakes contributed a steady 47 to his stand with Root. Ollie Robinson also finished the day unbeaten on 31.

Crawley added: “It was tricky early on with the ball nipping around a lot and we had to throw a couple of punches back, which I think myself and Jonny did well.

“I was trying to bat normally at the start but it was so difficult – I just felt like there was one with my name on eventually. I thought I’d throw something back and I did start to feel a bit more comfortable after that.

“The boys played unbelievably in the middle session and then Joe got very good support from Tom (Hartley) and Ollie as well.

“I said beforehand that if we get 280 to 300, we’re in a very good position so I stand by that – we are ahead of the game.”

Joe Root defied an unpredictable pitch to make a timely return to form as a risk-free unbeaten century stabilised England on a seesaw opening day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant early assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five at lunch after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root, averaging 12.83 after the first three matches, ended his lean patch with a battling 106 not out, which included a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

What was striking about Root’s 31st Test hundred, brought up off 219 balls, was its orthodoxy following criticism for some unconventional dismissals recently – especially his reverse ramp in Rajkot last week, which was a sliding doors moment in England slipping 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Whether he is suited to England’s ‘Bazball’ approach has been the subject of much debate in the last few days but Root showed the virtue of patience here.

There were some sweetly-timed drives through the covers as well as his characteristic late cuts and shots square of the wicket as the Yorkshireman registered the slowest ton of the Stokes and Brendon McCullum era.

Root has given England a fighting chance after Deep ensured the rested Jasprit Bumrah was not missed at first, exploiting the variable bounce that was a theme throughout the day and some early movement.

Stokes had no hesitation in batting, as is customary upon winning the toss in India, despite wariness over a track he described as “interesting”. What followed was a helter-skelter opening session as England went at 4.63 an over and lost five wickets, while two of India’s five reviews were successful.

England’s openers were routinely beaten on the outside edge and Zak Crawley had his off stump uprooted on four but it was found Deep had over-stepped. Deep did not have long to wait for a maiden Test wicket, though, as a searching delivery nipped away and grazed Ben Duckett’s outside edge on 11.

Ollie Pope lasted two deliveries as India overturned a not out leg-before verdict and an eventful over saw Root survive the hosts’ review for lbw first ball after getting fractionally outside the line of off stump.

Crawley then Jonny Bairstow counter-attacked, with both finding success against the expensive Mohammed Siraj.

But Crawley departed for a run-a-ball 42 when Deep’s in-ducker snaked through the gate and kissed the off bail, while Bairstow was lbw on review for 38 after missing a slog sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed his 100th Test wicket against England.

The tourists’ cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain throwing his head back and laughing ruefully as he began to trudge off before the umpire had raised his finger.

A frenetic morning gave way to a sedate afternoon as Root and Foakes settled for steady accumulation. The pitch did not have as many demons upon the resumption and while the odd one kept low, the English pair were alert to the danger.

There were just seven boundaries between lunch and tea after 13 fours and two sixes in the opening session but India’s often poor ground fielding allowed Root and Foakes to regularly rotate the strike.

Root went seamlessly to his first fifty in seven innings, after which Foakes, whose first boundary came with a drive off Kuldeep Yadav from his 66th ball, pushed the accelerator by taking 18 off an Ashwin over, including a big blow over the leg-side for six.

Foakes fell three short of a fifty after tamely chipping to midwicket, ending a 113-run stand with Root, while Siraj had his second wicket by knocking back the off-stump of Tom Hartley for 13.

Root, whose first and only reverse sweep came when he was on 76, kept going and moved to three figures with drive through the covers off Deep for his ninth four.

He celebrated the milestone in understated fashion by kissing the badge on his helmet and raising his bat as his team-mates, led by a grinning Stokes, celebrated enthusiastically on the balcony.

Root shared an unbroken 57 with Ollie Robinson, who should have been out on eight but India had burned their reviews. Instead Robinson, making his first appearance of the series, contributed 31 not out, taking England past 300 with a dismissive swipe for four off Yashasvi Jaiswal’s last over of the day.

Joe Root made a timely return to form as he and Ben Foakes defied an unpredictable pitch to stabilise England after a frenetic start to the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root registered his first fifty in seven innings – dating back to last summer’s Ashes – and went to tea on 67 not out out of England’s 198 for five, with Foakes unbeaten on 28 in an unbroken stand of 86.

Root received criticism for his first-innings dismissal in Rajkot which was a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat, and the Yorkshireman put away his reverse ramps and settled for a more patient, orthodox approach to blunt India’s quicks and spinners.

Conditions eased in the second session after England’s top-order was given a stiff working over, with Stokes electing to bat despite describing the surface as “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” this week in a series his side currently trail 2-1.

As well as uneven bounce, Crawley and Ben Duckett had to contend with sideways movement and the openers were beaten on the outside edge more than once. Crawley then had a major reprieve when his off stump was sent cartwheeling by an in-ducker but Deep’s overstep briefly denied him a maiden Test wicket.

Having taken just four off his first 16 balls, he took 28 off his next 16 after driving and twice clipping for three successive fours before a monstrous six off the expensive Siraj.

Duckett, though, feathered behind after being done on the angle from Akash Deep, who then had Ollie Pope lbw two balls later despite England’s number three advancing down the pitch. An India review was successful and they also queried a not out decision when Root was struck on the pad first ball.

Root had managed to get just outside the line but England were three down as Deep atoned for his no-ball by clipping the top of Crawley’s off-stump for a run-a-ball 42.

The out-of-form Jonny Bairstow, averaging 17 in this series, was purposeful and especially fluent against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four then crunching two more boundaries in his next over. When Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six, it appeared it would be the Yorkshireman’s day.

However, Ashwin tempted Bairstow (38) into another slog sweep which he missed. Umpire Rod Tucker was unmoved by an lbw appeal but another review vindicated India and Ashwin had his 100th wicket against England.

England’s cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Ben Stokes was leg-before to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain trudging off even before the umpire raised his finger.

A frenzied morning gave way to a more sedate start to the afternoon, with Root and Foakes settling for steady accumulation as Jadeja and Ashwin operated in tandem. There were 13 fours and two sixes in the morning but England did not get a boundary until the 82nd ball of the second session.

Root was particularly strong behind square on both sides of the wicket, judicious on front and back foot, although both he and Foakes – whose first four came off his 66th ball – were kept honest by the odd one keeping low.

After Root moved to a 108-ball fifty, India burned their final review on a frivolous lbw appeal off Foakes as the England pair batted out a wicketless session.

England gave India a leg up in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin as Joe Root’s ugly dismissal sparked a dramatic collapse on the third day of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin’s bombshell withdrawal from the Test the previous evening because of a family emergency meant India could only replace their premier spinner with a substitute fielder, depleting their bowling.

But they found their guests in obliging mood as Root’s patented reverse ramp off Jasprit Bumrah was brilliantly caught by Yashasvi Jaiswal, and a position of 224 for two became 319 all out.

Root was far from alone from contributing to his own demise, with Ben Duckett (153) and Ben Stokes (41) also guilty of loose strokes, as England surrendered a 126-run first-innings deficit before India swelled their advantage to 170 after going to tea on 44 for one.

Root partly atoned by making the breakthrough when India batted again, dismissing Rohit Sharma lbw when the home side’s captain missed a sweep. Umpire Joel Wilson’s not out decision was overturned but England still have a lot of work to do in the final session to swing back a bit of momentum.

The tourists’ profligacy drew parallels with last year’s Lord’s Ashes Test, where England were on 188 for one in reply to 416, with Australia minus spinner Nathan Lyon due to injury, before a succession of rash shots saw them skittled for 325.

England’s attacking brand under Stokes and Brendon McCullum is well-known but the match situation did not require a bold gambit from Root at the outset of a day where conditions grew increasingly sapping.

Duckett’s swaggering century had carried England to 207 for two from just 35 overs and, seeking to stay on the front foot, Root’s attempt to up the ante merely flew to second slip where Jaiswal held on excellently.

Root, who dropped Rohit Sharma in India’s first innings which cost 104 runs, was out for 18 which means he has failed to pass 30 in five innings in this series.

Root’s dismissal was put into harsher context when Jonny Bairstow was plumb lbw after Kuldeep Yadav found sharp turn. It was the Yorkshireman’s eighth duck against India and no other batter in history has made more.

Duckett lacked the fluency that had brought him an 88-ball hundred the previous evening but still moved to 150. However, he added just three off his next 12 deliveries which might explain why a batter so accustomed to feeling bat on ball chased a long hop from Yadav and toe-ended to cover.

Stokes, in his 100th Test, and Ben Foakes came through an exacting period, especially from Kuldeep, who bowled 12 overs unchanged with Ravindra Jadeja curiously unused until just before lunch.

Stokes was judicious off front and back foot and looked primed to mark his milestone Test in fashion but was suckered into a slog sweep off Jadeja, with Bumrah running back to take the catch.

Foakes fell for 13 next ball after pushing at Mohammed Siraj, albeit the ball sticking in the pitch a little, with those two dismissals the start of England losing their last five wickets in 38 balls and their final three in nine. Siraj bounced back from his mauling off Duckett to take four for 84.

England gave India a leg-up in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin as Joe Root and Ben Duckett gifted away their wickets on the third morning of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ashwin’s bombshell withdrawal from the Test the previous evening because of a family emergency meant India could only replace their premier spinner with a substitute fielder, depleting their bowling.

But they found their guests in obliging mood as Root’s patented reverse ramp, with which he has had success in the past, off Jasprit Bumrah was brilliantly caught by Yashasvi Jaiswal at second slip.

After Jonny Bairstow fell for a record-breaking eighth duck against India, Duckett, who had batted with panache in an incredible counter-attacking 88-ball hundred on day two, toe-ended a Kuldeep Yadav long hop to cover for 153 as England lurched from 224 for two to 290 for five at lunch.

Memories of England burning themselves in last year’s Ashes Test at Lord’s – when several batters were caught hooking despite the absence of injured Australia spinner Nathan Lyon – came flooding back.

Captain Ben Stokes (39 not out) on his 100th Test and Ben Foakes (6no) survived some testing moments but England still trail by 155 runs on a pitch that is offering more assistance to the bowlers.

India used just three bowlers for most of the morning with Ravindra Jadeja, back from a hamstring injury sending down an over before lunch.

Before that, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj dovetailed at one end with Kuldeep operating from the other.

Wickets had fallen early in each of the two previous days but the breakthrough on Saturday owed more to a rash stroke from Root rather than skill from Jasprit Bumrah. The match situation did not require a bold gambit but Root’s attempt to up the ante merely allowed India to get their tails up.

Root’s dismissal for 18 means he has failed to pass 30 in five innings in this series while he has been dismissed nine times in 21 innings by Bumrah.

Root’s dismissal was put into harsher context when Bairstow was plumb lbw after Yadav found sharp turn, with the Yorkshireman burning a review. No other batter in history has made more ducks against India than Bairstow.

Duckett was not as authoritative as the previous evening and gave the slightest of chances on 149, with Rohit Sharma getting a fingertip to an edge, before the left-handed opener moved to 150 off 139 balls.

He added just another three off 12 deliveries, which perhaps contributed to his eyes lighting up when a short and wide delivery was offered by Kuldeep but Duckett horribly miscued.

Ben Stokes has had an air of indifference at playing in his 100th Test but the England captain was “pretty emotional” at receiving his cap in a behind-closed-doors presentation.

England players typically hold a team huddle on the outfield before play to commemorate landmark appearances but Stokes this week described joining the 100 Test club as “just a number”.

In keeping with Stokes’ philosophy about personal milestones, his cap presentation took place in England’s dressing room before the opening day of the third Test against India in Rajkot got under way.

England assistant Paul Collingwood was tight-lipped about what he said to Stokes before handing over the cap but thought his former Durham team-mate was touched by the sentiments expressed.

“It was a real honour to be asked to present the cap in the first place,” Collingwood said.

“I’ve known Ben since he’s been a young whipper-snapper at Durham. It was great just to say a few nice words.

“It was just to really applaud what he’s achieved in his career so far, it’s certainly not coming to an end – hopefully he’s got another 100 Test caps in him.

“From the team’s point of view, it was to thank him for what he’s done and just the way he pushes the boundaries all the time and fills every player and member of coaching staff with confidence.

“It’s a great moment for him, I’m sure he’ll not be overly bothered about 100 Test caps but you could see once I was speaking he was pretty emotional to receive that cap.”

With the series level at 1-1 and resuming after a 10-day break, England made a terrific start as the recalled Mark Wood found the edges of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill to leave India on 33 for three.

Some early morning moisture aided England’s bowlers but as sun beat down on the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, the pitch flattened out and Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja capitalised.

Rohit made 131 after being given a reprieve on 27 when Joe Root shelled a tough chance, which would have left India on 47 for four, while Jadeja contributed a princely 110 not out on his return from a hamstring injury at his home ground as India finished an engrossing day on 326 for five.

Wood eventually got reward for his short-ball plan by snaring Rohit to finish with three for 69 while he ran out Sarfaraz Khan with a fantastic direct hit from mid-on.

“Woody has good skill with the new ball, he can nip that around and swing it,” Collingwood said.

“But on flat pitches, you need something, be it a leg-spinner who can turn it both ways, or extreme pace.

“They are usually things that break those partnerships and give you an edge. You want a point of difference on these types of pitches.

“I thought we pushed hard all day and we threw everything at them. We all realise that however many runs India get, we’re going to go out there pretty positively with the bat.

“If we have to chase runs on this pitch, it’s a very fast outfield and we’re good at chasing.”

While Root’s drop of Rohit was a sliding doors moment, England might also have snared both centurions had they reviewed lbw decisions given not out on the field, with Rohit on 87 and Jadeja on 93.

“It can be frustrating at times, but you have to crack on and try to create more chances,” Collingwood added.

Jadeja was shuffled up one place to number five to spare debutant Sarfaraz Khan a baptism of fire following India’s top-order wobble.

By the time Sarfaraz made his entrance, India were on a healthier 237 for four after a mammoth 204-run union between their two old stagers.

Sarfaraz poured salt into England’s wounds by taking down the tourists’ spinners and contributing 62 off 66 balls before being left high and dry by Jadeja, who turned down the single that would have brought up his 100.

Sarfaraz was well short of getting back in his crease and Jadeja reached his century from the next ball although his customary sword-swishing celebration was not as vigorous as usual.

“We had a little bit of miscommunication and that happens, it is no big deal,” Sarfaraz said, absolving his team-mate of any blame.

Rehan Ahmed remains in limbo in India although England are certain the teenage leg-spinner’s visa problem will be sorted out on Wednesday ahead of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ahmed’s single-entrance visa expired the moment he left for England’s mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates and the 19-year-old was initially red-flagged upon the team’s return to India on Monday.

England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum waited with Ahmed at Hirasar Rajkot Airport as an emergency two-day visa was granted before the trio got to the team hotel separately to the group.

Ahmed trained with his team-mates at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday morning and – while there is yet to be a resolution -, England seem convinced the issuing of a new visa is a formality.

“It’s not a concern,” Stokes said. “The guys who dealt with it at the airport did a really good job, given where we found ourselves. I’m confident that will be sorted.”

It is unclear whether the issue will hinder Ahmed’s chances as he tries to retain his England spot when the series, which is currently deadlocked at 1-1 after two gripping instalments, resumes on Thursday.

But it has occurred just a couple of weeks after off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was forced to miss the first Test in Hyderabad because of a paperwork snag as his Pakistani heritage led to extended checks.

Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani heritage but this is a separate matter owing to an oversight on the part of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Ahmed was already in possession of an Indian visa after being placed on standby for England’s 50-over World Cup campaign in October and November but it was not activated then because he was not required to travel.

England’s players travel on electronic visas which are not stamped in passports so the situation with Ahmed only came to light in Rajkot following England’s six-day breather in Abu Dhabi.

Ahmed – who is England’s youngest cricketer in all three formats – has taken eight wickets in the series at a respectable average of 36.37 so far and also contributed 70 runs, including a cameo 23 after being bumped up to number three in the batting order as the so-called ‘nighthawk’ in the second Test.

England’s spin options have already been hard hit by Jack Leach’s series-ending knee injury, leaving Ahmed, Bashir and Tom Hartley as the three specialist spinners, boasting six Test caps between them, with Joe Root’s part-time off-breaks becoming increasingly called upon.

“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” an England team spokesperson said.

“The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa. The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days.

“He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test.”

Joe Root described himself as “privileged, humbled and very excited” after being confirmed as England’s new Test captain on this day in 2017.

The then-26-year-old Yorkshire batter was handed the reins in the wake of Alastair Cook’s resignation after a 59-game tenure.

Root, who was averaging a little under 53 over 53 Tests at the time, was appointed ahead of home summer series against South Africa and the West Indies with an Ashes tour looming, on the recommendation of the selectors and the ECB’s director of England cricket Andrew Strauss.

With Ben Stokes as his vice-captain, vastly-experienced bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad at his disposal and coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace behind the scenes, he set out on his mission with some optimism.

Root said at the time: “We have a very good group of players, and I’m looking forward to leading them out in the summer – building on Alastair’s achievements and making the most of our talents in the years ahead.”

The new captain was appointed with England in a state of flux, having lost a match for the first time to Bangladesh and suffered at the hands of India as Cook’s reign, which had taken his side to within a win of the top of the Test rankings, drew to a close.

In all, Root led his country out onto the field in 64 Tests and collected 27 wins before he eventually stood down from the role in April 2022.

His tenure included two depressing 4-0 Ashes defeats Down Under either side of a 2-2 draw at home, but also more encouraging series wins over India and in Sri Lanka before the coronavirus pandemic intervened.

However, he called it a day in April 2022 after a decisive 10-wicket defeat in the West Indies, with the pressure of the job weighing heavily on his shoulders.

He said: “I have loved leading my country, but recently it’s hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game.”

Brendon McCullum credits the inspirational leadership and “total conviction” of Ben Stokes for giving England a fighting chance of leaving India with a series win.

The score is tied at 1-1 after two gripping Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, giving England a realistic shot at becoming the first side to win away on Indian soil since 2012.

Head coach McCullum will lead his side to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for a short break before the contest resumes on February 15 and, while the players will be resting up with family rather than hitting the nets, he insists they will be ready to “drop the shoulder and go hard” when they return for the third Test in Rajkot.

A crucial part of England’s ability to do just that so far has been the contribution of three novice spinners in the form of Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, who have defied their lack of experience to claim 26 wickets between them against players who have grown up against the turning ball.

And McCullum was glowing about Stokes’ ability to instil belief in the group.

“There are heaps of positives. Our spin bowling unit, albeit young and raw, have shown they’ve got what it takes,” he said.

“I put it down to the skipper. He has total conviction in his methods and is incredibly empathetic towards people.

“He spends time with them to ensure his messaging is really consistent, in his body language and behaviours, and he backs up what he says to them off the field with opportunities on the field. He is desperate to lead this team and he wants to take this team to whatever level he can take it.

“I am absolutely delighted in how they have performed with very little experience under their belt. You look around and you just see guys who look like they belong at international level.

“I think 1-1 is probably a fair reflection of where the contest is at the moment and, if the next three Tests are anything like these last two, it’s going to be one hell of a series.”

A return to form for Joe Root would be the biggest possible boost for England’s prospects, with the former skipper yet to make an impression with the bat.

A total of 52 runs from four innings represents a meagre return for a cornerstone player with a strong case for being the country’s best ever sub-continental batter.

The manner of his most recent dismissal, slogging wildly at the wily Ravichandran Ashwin, caused consternation, but McCullum harbours no such concerns.

“There are three Tests left, still an opportunity to score a whole s*** ton of runs,” he said with a smile.

“Joe’s a world-class player and as good as anyone England has ever seen.

“People will look to the dismissal, look at the method of his option, but he was trying to get the field back so he could milk them.

“It is the bravery you have to show at times and sometimes you get out doing it, that’s just the way the game rolls. There is no doubt from our point of view about that approach.”

England are not currently anticipating any changes to their Test squad for the second phase of the trip.

A virus has made an unwelcome intrusion on the camp but should be gone before the series resumes and concerns over Root’s injured little finger have eased.

There is no expectation of Harry Brook returning to the tour, with the team management giving him space to deal with the family matters that brought him home on the eve of the series.

The only uncertainty surrounds Jack Leach, who injured his knee in Hyderabad, missed the next game and has now been hit by illness.

“It is still pretty inflamed, but I don’t really know because he has been crook,” McCullum explained.

“His knee is pretty bad though and it was remarkable he got through what he did in the first Test match.”

England are locked at 1-1 after the first two games of their Test tour to India, with a pair of gripping matches in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

Here, PA news agency looks at lessons learned as the teams take a week’s break before resuming battle in Rajkot.

Rookie spinners are learning fast

With Jack Leach injured, England sent out an almost-unbelievably raw spin attack in the second Test.

Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir had a grand total of three caps between them going into the game – compared to 96 for India’s lead spinner Ravichandra Ashwin.

But under Ben Stokes’ proactive captaincy the youngsters are over-delivering on expectations.

They have each shone in different passages and are a major reason why England have successfully kept India’s batters from getting away.

England took a big gamble by fast-tracking such inexperienced options in conditions where the slow bowlers take huge responsibility but their development is unfolding quickly in front of our eyes.

England need more from their Yorkshire engine room

Joe Root remains the best batter in the England team and nobody has epitomised the ambition of the ‘Bazball’ era better than Jonny Bairstow, but neither man has landed a blow on India so far.

In four innings on tour Root has 52 runs at 13 and Bairstow 98 at 24.50.

It is too early to call it anything other than a blip but if England are to prevail in the next three matches they will surely play an important part.

Root is the team’s best player of slow bowling and has an exceptional record on the subcontinent, while Bairstow has the ability to bully attacks into losing composure.

Both have big roles to play after a slow start.

India are missing Virat Kohli

Both teams are missing key members of their batting line-up for personal reasons, with Harry Brook back home in England and Virat Kohli withdrawing on the eve of the series.

India appear to be missing their former captain most obviously.

He would surely be a more attacking presence in the middle order and a psychological boost for his team-mates, not to mention an electrifying factor in the field.

As a spectacle, the series would benefit from his return, but it would give the away side a new batch of problems to deal with.

Anderson is essential

A lacklustre Ashes series left some wondering if time had finally caught up with the evergreen James Anderson.

Not for the first time, he has brushed the doubters aside with panache.

At the age of 41 his efforts on his return to the XI were exemplary.

He is in outstanding physical shape and bowling with skill, control and the occasional hint of magic.

No other bowler in the squad can combine economy and wicket threat quite like Anderson and, after missing the series opener, he is once again a must-pick.

Surgery has saved Stokes

Stokes finally opted to go under the knife in November in a bid to solve his long-standing left knee problems.

He had long resisted surgery, unsure how it would turn out, but it looks to have given him a new lease of life.

The skipper has already pulled off two brilliant pieces of fielding that would have been impossible before – a wonderful run out and a sensational running catch – and no longer seems in constant pain at the crease.

Even more importantly, he has been making a gentle return to bowling in practice and hopes to be back as a fully-fledged all-rounder by the summer.

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