Joe Root creates century world record vs India; Ashwin reaches historic double | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Joe Root ditches Bazball to create century world record vs India; Ashwin reaches historic double during 4th Test

Feb 24, 2024 06:41 AM IST

Joe Root smashed his 31st century during the fourth Test in Ranchi to create a new world record against India.

Joe Root refrained from employing the sweep shot until he faced his 115th delivery on a calm Friday at Ranchi, opting for just one reverse sweep while meticulously crafting a patient century to salvage the day for England in the fourth Test. His unbeaten 106 from 226 balls, compiled at a strike rate of 46.90, was an innings contrasting with the aggressive style synonymous with the Brendon McCullum era.

Joe Root smashes century; Ashwin enters unique list during Day 1 of fourth Test(AP/PTI)
Joe Root smashes century; Ashwin enters unique list during Day 1 of fourth Test(AP/PTI)

Arriving at the fourth Test against India on the heels of a string of low scores in his recent Test innings, including an 18 in the first innings at Rajkot, Root sought to rediscover his resolve. Root's dismissals, marked by attempts at shots that appeared supremely bizarre when viewed outside the context of England's aggressive Bazball philosophy, sparked considerable criticism.

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It ignited debates about the reckless aspect of Bazball, with Root's 50-plus average during the McCullum era failing to shield him from criticism.

The 33-year-old cricketer required a substantial knock to counter these opinions and had to revert to his traditional batting style, and he did just that by restraining his inclination for flamboyance on Friday.

Root scored only nine boundaries en route to his 31st Test century, displaying an unwavering focus despite the absence of explosive strokes. And as he breached the three-figure mark, the England batter also made a new record against India. Root is now the highest century-scorer against India in Test history.

Here's the list of batters with the most three-figure scores against Indian teams in the longest format:

  • 10 - Joe Root
  • 9 - Steven Smith
  • 8 - Gary Sobers
  • 8 - Viv Richards
  • 8 - Ricky Ponting

Ashwin joins elite list

Ravichandran Ashwin's lone wicket of the day, that of England's Jonny Bairstow, proved significant as it catapulted him into a unique record. The off-spinner has now etched his name in history as the first Indian cricketer to amass 1000+ runs and claim 100 wickets against England in Test cricket.

In the broader context, Ashwin becomes only the fourth player to achieve this milestone, joining the ranks of West Indies' Gary Sobers, and Australia's Montague Noble and George Giffen.

This accomplishment further solidified Ashwin's stature in Test cricket, making him the seventh player in the sport's history to achieve such a feat against an opponent. Once again, he stands as the first Indian to reach this milestone.

Dream debut for Akash Deep

While Root shined for England, it was pacer Akash Deep who headlined India's proceedings on Day 1 in the fourth Test. The debutant triggered England's top-order collapse with a brilliant opening spell, through which he picked three wickets – Ben Duckett (13), Ollie Pope (0), and Zak Crawley (42).

Akash Deep replaced star India pacer Jasprit Bumrah in the XI, and so, the stakes were high. However, the Bengal fast bowler didn't let the nerves of the occasion impact his bowling, and despite bowling a no-ball on a wicket-taking delivery against Crawley, Akash Deep returned stronger to dismantle the English top-order.

The 27-year-old was India's fourth debutant in the series after Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, and Dhruv Jurel.

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