Joe Root continues Indian love affair with magnificent century
Ever since the fourth Test played in Nagpur during the 2012 series, India have struggled to ‘uproot’ Joe Root. The right-hander scored 73 solid runs as England held on for a draw to clinch their first series win in India after 28 years.
Four years later, Root put on a magnificent exhibition at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot as he notched up his 24th fifty in Tests. It was his fifth against India to go along with his two hundreds.
Root came in at the fall of skipper Alastair Cook’s wicket at 47/1 and got off the mark with a boundary off Ravindra Jadeja. He played the spinners well off the back foot and used his feet well to tackle the spin trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra. He continued to grow in confidence with a couple of fours off Ravichandran Ashwin. Most of his runs came against the spinners as he demonstrated his good technique on a decent pitch in Rajkot.
On 92, Root survived a close call on LBW. Umesh Yadav got a delivery to reverse back in and the batsman missed the flick. Umpire Dharmasena did not give it out and India opted for the review. Replays suggested that the ball was clipping leg stump and the decision remained not out.
He got to the landmark by working R Ashwin to fine leg for a couple to notch up his 11th Test century and his third against India. It was also his first hundred in Asia, thus making a big statement. During the course of his knock, he went past 1000 runs in Tests in 2016, becoming the second English player after Jonny Bairstow to get to the milestone.
Root shared a 179-run stand with Moeen Ali but on 124, he was dismissed in controversial circumstances. Root drove a full ball back to Umesh Yadav who bent low and took the catch and hauled it up, but as he turned he did not control it and the ball landed on the ground. The third umpire was called for but he was declared out.
The Yorkshire right-hander has an average of over 100 against India in Tests. During the 2014 series, he scored 518 runs at an average of 103.60 with two centuries. He was involved in a world record 198-run partnership for the 10th wicket with James Anderson in Trent Bridge while his unbeaten 149 helped England achieve an innings and 244-run win in the final Test at The Oval.