Root becomes ninth player to score a ton on his 100th appearance
Chennai: Skipper Joe Root won the battle of attrition against Indian spinners with a classy century in his 100th Test as England reached a comfortable 263 for three at stumps on the opening day of the first match here on Friday.
A modern-day great, Root (128 batting, 197 balls) showed his mastery over slow bowlers during his 20th hundred and third in as many Tests, becoming the ninth player in the history of the game to score a ton on his 100th appearance.
He also admirably guided young opener Dom Sibley (87 off 286 balls), who showed commendable game awareness and enormous doggedness during their 200-run partnership for the third wicket before Jasprit Bumrah (2/40) got him in the final over of the day.
Root’s innings was an exhibition of how to construct an innings on a low, slow track while countering a hostile post-lunch spell from Ishant Sharma (15-3-27-0) where he got the ball to reverse swing.
Root’s speciality, the sweep shot, was also brought out of the closet once Indian spinners started altering the length.
There were full-blooded slog sweep in front of the square, conventional sweep towards square, the paddle sweep behind the square and also switch-hit sweep where he changed the grip against Shahbaz Nadeem.
And towards the end, first six of the match, was also a slog sweep off Ashwin. This was after he had almost lost five litres of fluid in sapping Chennai heat.
Root and Sibley knew that they had to tire Ishant, Ravichandran Ashwin (1/56) and Bumrah out as Virat Kohli at some point would have to pay the price for Washington Sundar and Nadeem’s relative inexperience.
Saliva ban made it difficult to maintain ball as sweat not effective: Bumrah
Chennai: The ban on saliva turned out to be a handicap for the bowlers since the sweat was not effective to shine the ball, India pace spearhead Jasprit bumrah said on Friday after England called the shots on the opening day of the series-opener, here.
Skipper Joe Root’s unbeaten century in his 100th Test took England to 263 for three on a lifeless Chepauk track where the red SG Test lost its hardness after 40th over.
“The ball did become soft after a while and the wicket is on flatter side with the bounce being less. You are left with limited options (to shine ball). We are trying to figure out what we can do with the limited things on hand, at that time,” Bumrah said at the virtual media conference.
India’s most successful bowler on the day admitted that they found it difficult to maintain the ball as ICC has banned the use of saliva in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
“Yes, it becomes difficult when the ball becomes soft and doesn’t shine really well because of new COVID-19 rules, we can’t use saliva, very difficult during that time to maintain the ball,” Bumrah said.
He also explained that sweat which is lighter than saliva is not at all a good option to prepare the ball for reverse swing.
“In India, the ball gets scuffed up easily. So to make the ball heavy, you have to shine one side sometimes, with sweat and it doesn’t really serve the purpose. You can’t make one side heavy with sweat and it doesn’t really work that way.
“But these are the rules and we have to make do with what we have at the moment,” said Bumrah.