Brief Scores on Day 1 Stumps: England 263/9 in 89.3 overs (Joe Root 128*, Dominic Sibley 87; Ishant Sharma 2/40, R Ashwin 1/68)
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, England have received just the start they would have desired on a wicket that hasn’t troubled the batters on the first day’s play.
In spite of losing the early wickets of opener Rory Burns (33) and Daniel Lawrence (0) in the 24th and 26th overs from R Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah respectively and the scorecard reading 63/2, the tourists bounced back in action courtesy of skipper Joe Root, who slammed a ton on his 100th Test match, and a gritty exhibition from opener Dominic Sibley, as he cemented his spot at the crease to score 87 off 286 deliveries.
India could hardly create chances of a breakthrough until the last few moments on the first day’s play, where Bumrah’s blazing yorker struck Sibley right on the front pad to get him LBW.
Spinners toiled hard yet remained ineffective
It certainly was one of those days when the spinners could hardly do anything to get the better of the batsmen. As was expected, India had played three spinners – R Ashwin, Washington Sundar, and Shahbaz Nadeem being added at the last moment owing to Axar Patel suffering a knee injury and being ruled out of the first Test.
Although Ashwin bagged the wicket of Rory Burns (33) just before the lunch and that brought the momentum in India’s favor, the situation started turning sour as the day progressed. Root and Sibley tackled the spinners exceptionally well and took on Washington Sundar, who was playing his first Test at home and ended up conceding 55 runs in 12 overs and no wicket to his name.
Even Shahbaz Nadeem, slow left-arm orthodox, who had torn through the South African batting order in his last Test in Ranchi in 2019, couldn’t trick the batter into giving up their wicket and eventually finished with figures of 20-3-69-0.
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Jasprit Bumrah the lone positive among the bowlers
With India playing two pacers – Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah on a wicket that has been straight-out flat and there’s nothing much for the spinners, a lot was dependent on them to unsettle the touring lineup from registering a solid total.
While Ishant kept bowling tight lengths from an end to trouble the visitors and conceded merely 27 runs in 15 overs, it was Bumrah, playing his first Test in India after a wait of 17 matches, who got the wood over two of England’s batters, including the wicket of a well-set Dominic Sibley in the final moments of the day’s play, to finish with 2/40 in 18.3 overs.
Dominic Sibley and Joe Root stitch a mammoth 200-run partnership
While Sibley held the innings from an end and didn’t play a rash shot during his duration at the crease, Root played a bit more freely and rendered a counter-attacking performance at a strike rate of 64.97 that comprised 14 fours and a six. The 200-run partnership stitched by the duo witnessed Sibley scoring 61 runs while Root contributed a majestic 128 and remained unbeaten till the day’s play.
And with that, Root now holds a fifty-plus total in each of the seven Tests he has played in Indian conditions. His scores read – 73 and 20* in Nagpur, 124 and 4 in Rajkot, 15 and 78 in Mohali, 21 and 77 in Mumbai, 88 and 6 in Chennai, and the current 128* in Chennai.
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Joe Root joins the list of elite cricketers
Root, who has now amassed 8377 runs at an average of 50.16, has been on fine form in the last three Tests. Scoring a hundred on each occasion, he has entered the record books as only the 3rd English cricketer and 9th player in Test cricket history and to register a ton in his 100th Test.
Others who have managed to pull off this feat include Alec Stewart, Colin Cowdrey, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla.
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