Joe Root, Dom Sibley put England on top with 200-run partnership


England 263 for 3 (Sibley 87, Root 128*) vs India

A dominant 200-run partnership between Joe Root and Dom Sibley put England on top on the first day in Chennai, as Test cricket returned to India after an absence spanning 14 months.

After Sibley had laid a foundation with Rory Burns, England lost two wickets in quick succession before lunch and appeared to have let their strong start slip. But Root, in the 100th Test of his career, continued from where he had left off in Sri Lanka as he eased through the gears to reach his 20th hundred, and his third in as many matches this year.

India’s bowlers toiled hard for little reward throughout the afternoon and evening sessions, as Root swept, flicked and punched them round the ground while Sibley ground them down with an old-school rearguard. Despite Jasprit Bumrah‘s breakthrough with the last ball of the day, trapping Sibley lbw for 87 with a fast, inswinging yorker, England were in the box seat at the close.

Root had no hesitation in choosing to bat after winning the toss, and Virat Kohli admitted that he would have done the same on a pitch that looked flat from the start. Axar Patel’s knee injury meant that Shahbaz Nadeem played as the left-arm spinner, while Washington Sundar retained his spot at No. 7 as India opted for three fingerspinners rather than a third seamer or Kuldeep Yadav’s wristspin. For England, Dom Bess retained his place ahead of Moeen Ali, while James Anderson was picked over Stuart Broad.

Having missed the famous win at the Gabba through injury, Bumrah returned to play his first home Test, more than three years after his debut, and created a chance with the first ball he bowled. Angling the ball into the left-hander from round the wicket, he drew a tickle as Burns shaped to work to leg, but Rishabh Pant put down the chance diving to his right.

Sibley and Burns built steadily, getting through the first hour unscathed, successfully seeing off the new ball and coping with R Ashwin’s threat after his early introduction into the attack. But as Burns grew in confidence, he began to display his vulnerabilities, exposing his stumps when lunging across to sweep Ashwin from round the wicket.

He then skipped down the pitch to clip him effortlessly through midwicket for four as lunch approached, which caused Ashwin to change his line of attack and look to push the ball across him from over the wicket. The ploy succeeded almost instantly: in an attempt to throw Ashwin off the scent, Burns brought out the reverse-sweep to the fifth ball of the over, but was through the shot early. The ball looped up off his glove and into Pant’s hands, and Burns was visibly frustrated with his decision-making as he trudged off.


Source link

Leave a Reply