IND vs ENG: Root ton, Sibley fifty give England day-one honours

Dogged opener Dom Sibley fell leg-before to a full length thunderbolt from Jasprit Bumrah for a battling 286-ball 87 in the day’s last over.

Root and Sibley sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt on day one.   -  BCCI

In Latin, they call it Centum. There is a magical ring around the number 100. It is a complete, fully rounded entity. And Joe Root made it hundred in 100. A century in 100th Test is much like extra cream on a cake. Makes it more delicious.

It was a hundred steeped in character, sound in technique, and rich in strokeplay. On a hot humid day, Root battled cramps, was not overcome by the pressures of a momentous occasion and made his own destiny. 

And at the end of Friday - the opening day of the series - Root was unbeaten on a 197-ball 128. The English captain ‘swept’ his way to glory.

And England, after Root won the toss, was on a comfortable 263 for three at stumps on a good batting surface.

IND vs ENG, 1st Test Day 1 Highlights: Root ton guides England to 263/3; Bumrah snaps Sibley in the final over  

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Dogged opener Dom Sibley fell leg-before to a full length thunderbolt from Jasprit Bumrah for a battling 286-ball 87 in the day’s last over.

Sibley, secure in defence, going fully forward or travelling right back, strong on the on-side, and not missing out on short balls, added 200 massive runs with Root for the third wicket, frustrating India.

Root walked in when England was at a tentative 63 for two - the impressive Bumrah had just reverse swung one to consume Dan Lawrence - and gradually assumed control.

Watching Root was an education in the art of batsmanship. The last three years had been indifferent for him and the 30-year-old England captain has worked on his methods.

His backswing is straighter, head position steadier and consequently, he is beautifully balanced. His defence was solid and when he drove, his high left elbow was in view.

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After his huge monuments - 228 and 186 on surfaces offering turn at Galle in back-to-back Tests - the surface at the crowdless M.A. Chidambaram Stadium was far less challenging for Root.

The outfield was fast too and Root chased in. A cover-drive off Bumrah, his left foot forward and to the ball’s pitch, screamed for attention. The construction of the stroke from stance to finish was brilliant.

Among the hallmarks of great batsmen is how quickly they pick the length and adjust their footwork. And the manner Root went right back, shortening the length of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem’s delivery, and using the depth of the crease to glide the ball late, behind point, was high-quality stuff.

IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Joe Root scores century in 100th Test  

The Indian spinners, it seemed, still had the Australian hangover, when they bowled a middle and leg line with men in catching position on the leg-side. But then, you need bounce for this tactic to succeed and the pitch here lacked it. Instead, they were swept and reverse swept.

In the morning the left-right pair of Rory Burns and Sibley gave England a sound 63-run start; the left-handed Burns could have left early had ‘keeper Rishabh Pant held a difficult leg-side chance off Bumrah. Ishant Sharma bowled well, opening up batsmen, but without luck. 

Burns perished attempting to reverse sweep Ashwin and Lawrence left soon. Then Root assumed centre-stage, using his feet against Ashwin.

Perhaps, no stroke encapsulated his spirit than a sweep late in the day for a six off Ashwin after which he slid down in agony due to cramps.

A heroic Centum in Centum it was.