England ended day one of the first Test against India on 263-3 after a special century from Joe Root (128no) in his 100th Test match; the England captain put on 200 for the third wicket with Dom Sibley (87) but Jasprit Bumrah’s late strike removed opener
Joe Root marked his 100th Test with a sparkling century as England dominated day one of the first Test against India in Chennai.
The 30-year-old Yorkshireman became just the third Englishman, after Colin Cowdrey and Alec Stewart, and the ninth batsman overall to achieve the feat as he continued his stunning start to 2021 with his third century in as many matches.
Dom Sibley (87 from 286 balls) produced a valuable, and typically stubborn, innings before he was lbw to Jasprit Bumrah (2-40) in the final over of the day, ending a third-wicket stand of 200 with Root, to give India a boost going into day two.
The first day was all about Root, though, as he put on a masterclass of how to bat in the subcontinent, pacing his innings to perfection as he went through to his 20th Test hundred and finished unbeaten on 128, with England 263-3.
A landmark occasion for Root started well when he won the toss and wasted no time in opting to bat on a pitch expected to deteriorate rapidly late in the game and, after an early scare, England made the most of a slow, flat day one surface.
Playing in his 18th Test, remarkably this is Jasprit Bumrah’s first on home soil and he nearly struck with his first ball as Rory Burns glanced it fine but Rishabh Pant was unable to cling on to a very tough low catch as he dived down the legside.
From there on, though, both Burns and Sibley were comfortable as they negotiated the remainder of the opening spells from Bumrah and Ishant Sharma and started brightly against the spinners as well.
The fifty partnership came up and England looked on course to reach lunch unscathed before Burns (33) gifted India an opening as he tried an unnecessarily risky reverse-sweep to Ravi Ashwin (1-68) and sent the ball looping up gently to Pant off his glove.
India seized on the opportunity, Bumrah was brought back into the attack and swiftly removed Dan Lawrence, promoted to No 3 in Zak Crawley’s absence, for a five-ball duck. The fast bowler got the ball reverse-swinging and a big in-swinger rapped Lawrence on the pad, plumb in front.
Root seemed nervy early on but got through the closing stages of the session and was able to regroup over lunch.
India came out with purpose, though, and really put the squeeze on England in the first hour after lunch with Ashwin and, in particular, Ishant – who got the ball reversing to great effect – causing problems for Root and Sibley.
However, the England duo battled through and after scoring just 24 runs in the first hour of the afternoon, they opened up when India introduced inexperienced spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar.
With the runs flowing, the fifty partnership came up shortly before Sibley reached his half-century from 159 deliveries and Virat Kohli was forced to bring back Bumrah, Ashwin and then Ishant to regain some control before tea.
Ishant began the evening session well and in the first over after the resumption, Root was relieved to see an edge drop just short of Pant.
He soon put it behind him, though, moving past 50 and showed just how well he was seeing the ball with a glorious cover drive off Bumrah to bring up the 100 partnership with Sibley.
The England skipper swept Sri Lanka’s spinners into submission last month and having used the shot more sparingly early in his innings, began doing likewise to India as his confidence grew – Nadeem and Sundar bearing the brunt once more.
Root’s big moment came soon after drinks in the evening session as he clipped the ball around the corner for one to take him to three figures from 164 balls, having scored just 12 from his first 54, a beaming smile on his face as he took the applause of his team-mates.
The tough conditions began to tell late in the day as Root showed signs of suffering from cramp, but that did not stop him dispatching Ashwin over deep midwicket for six with a brutal slog-sweep.
England’s approach changed almost immediately after that shot as Root and Sibley, who had quietly ticked over as his partner breezed to another ton, looked to bat out the day.
It was not to be for Sibley, though, as Bumrah produced a magnificent in-swinging yorker with the second new ball and struck him on the front pad, a review more in hope than expectation confirmed his dismissal but England will hope to push on again on day two as Root is joined at the crease by Ben Stokes.