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Root brings third consecutive Test ton to deflate Indian attack

England’s Joe Root celebrated his 100th Test with a century against India as he and opener Dom Sibley put the tourists in a commanding position in the first Test in Chennai.

The England captain had demanded a big first-innings total from his team after electing to bat at MA Chidambaram Stadium. When they threatened to squander their strong start, Root partnered Sibley in a marathon 200-run stand to help England post a strong 3-263 at stumps.

Root’s unbeaten knock of 128 was studded with 14 boundaries and a six. He came into the series smashing centuries against Sri Lanka in the two-Test series. Sibley made 87 before Jasprit Bumrah trapped him lbw with the final delivery of the day.

Earlier, Root won an important toss, avoiding the potentially tricky task of batting in the fourth innings on a crumbling wicket.

England got off to a steady start with a 63-run stand between Sibley and Rory Burns but faltered ahead of the lunch break. Burns made 33 before attempting a reckless reverse-sweep against Ravichandran Ashwin and offering a simple catch to Rishabh Pant.

Bumrah then trapped Dan Lawrence lbw for a duck but Root and Sibley denied India a wicket in the steady second session. Root survived an early run-out chance and the lack of carry in the wicket meant a couple of edges fell short of the fielders behind the stumps.

Sibley fell to Ashwin on what was the final delivery of the day. PHOTO: ICC

His battle against Ashwin is one of the sub-plots of the four-Test series and the England captain took a single off the spinner to bring up his 20th hundred. Root jumped in celebration while India counterpart Virat Kohli clapped.

Root, who suffered cramps towards the end, provided a template for playing spin bowling, using his feet and frequently playing the sweep shot after his early caution against Ashwin.

India, playing their first home series since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, looked sloppy in the field with several midfields while Pant dropped a low catch to reprieve Burns early in his innings.

AP/RSS

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