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Joe Root takes tennis court route to success in Chennai Test

England vice-captain Joe Root stroked another half-century against India and then put that down to some improvised honing of his footwork on a tennis court on the eve of the final Test against India.

cricket Updated: Dec 16, 2016 18:38 IST
HT Correspondent
India vs england
England's Joe Root in action during the first day of the fifth Test against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.(PTI)

England vice-captain Joe Root stroked another half-century against India and then put that down to some improvised honing of his footwork on a tennis court on the eve of the final Test against India.

Root struck a fluent 88 until he was adjudged caught behind off Ravindra Jadeja as India finally broke through after a 146-run third wicket partnership. (SCORECARD)

The 25-year-old, who has scored at least a fifty in each of his 11 Tests against India, then revealed he had put in some practice on the tennis courts adjacent to the MA Chidambaram stadium as he wasn’t happy with his footwork in Mumbai.(HIGHLIGHTS)

“My feet was all over the place in Mumbai against the seamers. I wanted to iron out a few things out. We tried the tennis courts, we tried to do that away from the cameras, to be honest, in case it went pear-shaped,” he said after the first day’s play.

Root’s footwork was outstanding. He went well back to even pitched up deliveries and swept repeatedly to score after England were reduced to 21 for two in the morning.

Read more | India, England players pay homage to Jayalalithaa before start of Chennai Test

“Obviously the nets weren’t ready and it was the only surface we could find,” he said, referring to the tennis courts adjacent to the stadium. “A few of the local guys helped and we got a few of the things sorted. It was nice to have that peace of mind going into today….just being able to not worry about any technical issues.

Read more | Virat Kohli gets DRS right, Ravindra Jadeja gets Joe Root for 88 in Chennai Test

“Me and Ramps (batting consultant Mark Ramprakash) targeted for about half an hour and some things just clicked into place… It was just nice to clear my head and be clear going into today.”

The two reportedly used a pair of gloves as stumps with the former England batsman giving throwdowns till Root felt comfortable with his footwork.

BACK TO BASICS

“You think about how lucky we are with the kind of practice facilities and everything we get in international cricket. So to go back to being a kid again, remember what it’s like to play on the street, it’s one of the reasons why you look to get into cricket,” he said.

Read more | When Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar were ‘Boycott-ed’ by this Englishman

It’s just pressure and thinking about the game, so just enjoy batting again. That feeling, it just relaxed me. I don’t think I am going to do that anytime soon if there are wickets available but it was quite nice to do that.”

It almost ended in a brilliant century and Root said although he was initially shocked, he had to accept the decision after watching the replays.

“Initially the feeling was I couldn’t have hit it. Then it goes upstairs and you see the spike (on Ultra-Edge) and you start thinking what else could it be. It is more disbelief than anything else. Obviously the technology suggests otherwise.”