Joe Root hit his third century of 2021 helps England to 263/3 as the tourist take advantage on day one.
Becoming the 15th England player to reach a century of test matches, Joe Root 128* partnered with Dom Sibley looked to take control of the first day, with a mammoth 200 partnership.
India had taken a slight advantage in the opening session, taking two wickets in the closing stages, but could not break the third wicket partnership.
India, buoyed by their win down under in one of the greatest test series, welcomed back captain Virat Kohli as well as Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem to their XI.
Rory Burns, back in the test team after missing the Sri Lanka tour due to the birth of his child back home, first offered up a chance whilst on 1 that was dropped by Pant, built a first innings partnership of 63 with Sibley, before gloving the ball attempting a horrifically disgusting reverse sweep off Ravi Ashwin.
Dan Lawrence became England’s 16th man to bat number three in the past decade departed for a fifth ball duck, being trapped LBW off Jasprit Bumrah.
The Essex batsman promoted up the order after Zak Crawley was ruled out after slipping in the hotel.
It was also Bumrah’s first test match in India, claiming his first home wicket in his 18th test match.
Coming to the crease at 63/2, Root set out to push his side to a competitive tally, although, almost running himself out on 1. What would have been another runout to what already is the highest amount of runouts by an English batsman.
Working slowing in the first hour after the lunch break, the partnership only added 25 to the score. India’s pace bowlers Sharma and Bumrah creating opportunities with both batsman escaping edges, with the captain running close after being wrapped on the pads.
After the drinks break the runs started to come, Root bringing out his stylish and ultimately reliable array of sweep shots, of which he averages over 110 playing the shots.
For the third match in a row, he bought up his ’50th 50′, a cut shot mis-fielded to the boundary by Washington Sundar. One of *number of root boundary’s* he found the rope.
Root only had one moment of worry after passing 50, safely top edging a sweep into the deep.
His play was beautiful and batting only got easier as for the captain, the ball seemed to get bigger. Cover drives, reverse sweeps and shots through off side all beautifully caressed to the boundary. Some helped on their way by tiered fielding by the Indian side.
A single helped Root to his century, becoming the ninth player to score triple digits on his 100th test cap, every run leading up to and after only strengthening his case to be seen as one of the best batsman in the world again, after two years that have not shown what the Yorkshire man is capable of.
Root did pull up with cramp in the final overs of the day, having to be stretched by opposite captain Virat Kohli after dismissing a areal slop sweep brilliantly for his sole maximum.
The day wasn’t all about the captain though, Dom Sibley, who struggled up until the final innings of the Sri Lanka tour, played unrecognisable to the man who started the year. His pace in batting is admired by test cricket fans, with his strike rate only edging over 30 as the day came to an end.
So strong in defence and now adding scoring shots to the spinners, ‘The Fridge’ barley looked troubled at the crease. Advancing down the pitch with confidence of a man who hadn’t had three single figure scores in his last four innings.
Sibley was out the last ball of the day, an inswinging yorker by Bumrah given out LBW to end his innings on unlucky 87. Only 13 short of his century.
The pairs partnership was only the sixth of 200+ in India, helping England to close on in a strong position to score the 500+ target that would get the tourist into a commanding position.