Root produces the goods but India in control of first Test

By Sports Desk August 07, 2021

Joe Root hit a superb hundred to offer hope for England but India are in pole position to win an absorbing first Test heading into the final day in Nottingham.

Captain Root made 109 – his 21st Test ton but first on home soil since September 2018 – to underpin England's second-innings total of 303, Jasprit Bumrah restricting their advantage with 5-64.

Left needing 209 for victory in the series opener, India lost KL Rahul for 26 in a tricky session but reached stumps on 52-1, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara both on 12 not out.

England had resumed in the morning on 25 without loss with a considerable deficit still to deal with, the hosts eventually moving in front for the loss of Rory Burns (18) and Zak Crawley (six).

In cricket's version of the tortoise and the hare, the imperious Root raced past the dogged Dom Sibley during a third-wicket stand worth 89. The alliance came to an end when the latter played an uncharacteristically loose drive having reached 28, an inside edge off Bumrah well caught by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

Jonny Bairstow looked in excellent touch in reaching 30 but a pull shot only found Ravindra Jadeja in the deep, while Shardul Thakur removed both Dan Lawrence (25) and Jos Buttler (17), who was bowled offering no stroke, either side of tea.

Root eventually fell to the second new ball, with England slipping from 274-6 following the departure of their talismanic leader.

Bumrah sent back Sam Curran, who made a useful 32, and Stuart Broad with successive deliveries to get his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests, Mohammed Shami then claiming the final wicket as Ollie Robinson was caught at third man for 15.

Broad struck a much-needed blow when Rahul was caught behind, yet that was England's solitary success with the ball in 14 overs prior to the close.

 

Root digs in again

Root underlined his immense importance to England with a fourth Test century in 2021. He is the only player to pass 1,000 runs in the format in the calendar year, aided by making two double centuries during England's busy winter schedule.

This memorable knock spanned 172 deliveries and included 14 boundaries, one of which was a glorious straight drive that saw him reach three figures. He began celebrating before the ball had crossed the rope, raising both arms aloft.

India lean on brilliant Bumrah

Bumrah missed out on a five-wicket haul in the first innings but made sure he reached the landmark second time around, meaning he will finish with match figures of 9-110.

The pace bowler certainly likes playing at Trent Bridge, having claimed 5-85 at the venue on India's 2018 tour to help his team clinch victory on that occasion. He will hope to be on the winning side again this time too, provided his batsmen can finish the job on Sunday.

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