Indian bowlers were made to toil as England began their campaign on a promising note, riding on star batsman Joe Root’s 11th century to finish the opening day of the first cricket Test at a solid 311/4 in Rajkot. (LIVE COVERAGE/ LIVE SCOREBOARD)
England’s leading batsman in recent years, Root was his customary elegant self and made 124 off 180 balls, while Moeen Ali was one short of his fourth Test hundred when the stumps were drawn after 93 overs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Root’s effort was the first Test century by a visiting batsman in India since Michael Clarke’s 130 at Chennai in February 2013. This was also the first time in the last 21 innings a visiting side crossed a 300 plus score in India.
Coming together after England lost three wickets in the first session of the day, Root and Ali between them added 107 runs to help the visitors reach 209/3 by the tea break.
Coming in to bat after the fall of England captain Alistair Cook, Root batted steadily and was unbeaten on 93 while Ali was on the cusp of a well-deserved half-century at an unbeaten 48.
Earlier in the day, England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a Rajkot pitch he saw as a traditional Indian wicket that would assist the slower bowlers as the game progressed.
A nervy Cook lived a charmed life against India’s new-ball pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav when the left-hander was dropped twice in the first two overs behind the wicket.
The opener seemed to have overcome his jittery start and moved to 21 by the end of the first hour’s play before he was out leg before to spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Cook was unfortunate to be given out off an incorrect decision from the umpire with replays showing the ball missing leg stump but his new opening partner Haseeb Hameed offered little assistance by advising against asking for a review.
The Rajkot match marks the first time the Decision Review System (DRS) is being used for a bilateral series in India and England erred a second time when they eventually opted to utilise technology.
The 19-year-old Hameed, who became England’s youngest debut opener, wasted one of the two reviews available to his team when he failed to overturn a leg before decision off Ravichandran Ashwin .
Hameed was dropped on 13 in the slips off Yadav but otherwise looked compact in his knock of 31.
Ben Duckett, who opened for England in Bangladesh, was pushed down the order to accommodate Hameed and made a brisk start by hitting Ravichandran Ashwin for three boundaries in four balls.
But India’s spearhead gained revenge in his next over when Ajinkya Rahane stooped to complete a smart low catch at slip to send Duckett back to the pavilion and bring the players in for lunch.
India added an extra spinner to their attack with Amit Mishra coming in for batsman Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out of the series with a thigh injury.