Rajkot: Joe Root’s hundred and Moeen made sure England enjoy a solid start in the first Test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Wednesday.
The star England batsman looked at ease as he and Ali steadied the England innings after the visitors had lost three wickets in the first session.
After electing to bat, Alastair Cook and 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed enjoyed their share of luck as India dropped three catches in the first hour of play. However, England’s luck ran out after Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Cook LBW. Cook did not op to review the decision but had he, he would have been adjudged not out as the ball, heading down the leg stump, was not crashing onto the leg-stumps.
Haseeb was next to get out after R Ashwin trapped the youngster before the wickets. While he reviewed the decision after Root’s suggestion, it did not work in his favour.
Ben Duckett then joined Root in the middle. The left-hander a few strokes but was caught brilliant by Ajinkya Rahane off Ashwin’s bowling in the final over before lunch.
From thereon, England dominated the proceedings as Root and Ali kept Indian bowlers at bay with a 179-run partnership. Root got out after scoring 124 off Umesh Yadav's bowling.
Ben Stokes, who came in to bat following Root's dismissal, kept Ali a company as England ended day one for 311/4 with Ali remaining unbeaten on 99.
England 287/4 from 85.3 overs
Shami is having problems with his cramps again, as the team physio comes out on the field. The bowler has shown great perseverence to come back and bowl the last three balls of h8is over. This will probably be his last over of the day.
England 281/4 from 81.4 overs
Grave news for India. Md Shami is having some issues with his hamstring. However, the Bengal pacer decides to continue bowling after checking with the team physio. Reports from the Indian dressingroom suggest that it was just a cramp.
England 281/4 from 80.4 overs
WICKET! India get the big wicket! Some confusion reined, as Root (124) lobbed the ball back towards bowler Umesh, who seemed to have caught it, but immediately threw it in the air. The main confusion here was whether Umesh actually took the catch properly before releasing it. Third umpire Rod Tucker actually took a good look at Umesh's nexpression, before ruling it out.
England 278/3 from 80 overs
England are in complete control of the game now. Moeen Ali has played a sensible knock, while Joe Root took the attack to the Indian spinners. A bit of confusion on the field as Kohli seemed to have signaled for the new ball. However, Umesh tells him that he wants to bowl with the old ball.
England 250/3 from 74 overs
Hundred for Joe Root! What a fine player he is! England were under pressure after losing three wickets in the first session. But he along with Moeen Ali, who has also completed his fifty, has pushed India on the backfoot.
England 206/3 from 62 overs:
Joe Root and Moeen Ali have kept Indian spinners at bay as runs come at a good pace for England. While Root is once again showing why he is one of the best batsmen going around, Ali is doing his bit to help England be in a good position in the first Test.
England 123/3 from 39 overs:
Moeen Ali and Joe Root are trying to steady the England ship as Mohammed Shami and R Ashwin continue to ask questions. England will want Root and Ali to bat long and hope that Ashwin and Co don't run through their batting line-up.
England 102/3 from 32.3 overs:
WICKET! Ajinkya Rahane has made up for that dropped catch in the first over. Ashwin has set up Ben Duckett beautifully despite getting hit for three fours in the previous over. The ball before, Ashwin threw one up as Duckett struggled to hit it cleanly. The next one he edged one and Rahane took a brilliant low catch as the teams go lunch interval.
England 76/2 from 27 overs
WICKET! R Ashwin strikes. Hameed takes a review but it looked as plumb as it can get. You can feel for the young lad, he suggested Cook not to go for a review when the England skipper should have and took it for himself when it looked absolutely plumb. He batted well though.
England 74/1 from 25 overs:
Hameed continues to look solid. The 19-year-old has looked comfortable against spin. Joe Root, at the other end, is settling in.
England 51/1 from 16 overs;
WICKET! Ravindra Jadeja has dismissed Alastair Cook. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane would be relieved. The ball was missing leg but the England skipper did not review. India would not mind a bit of luck.
England 35/0 after 10 overs:
Indian fielding has let Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav down. Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli dropped Alastair Cook in the first two overs and then Murali Vijay dropped Haseeb Hameed to give England a chance to get a hang of this and build a solid opening stand.
Rajkot: Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli dropped Alastair Cook twice in the space of two overs as England are off to an edgy start after electing to bat in the first Test against India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Wednesday.
While 19-year-old opening batsman Haseeb Hameed will make his debut, England have benched Gary Ballance. India, meanwhile, have fielded three spinners in the playing XI.
India: Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra.
England: Alastair Cook (Captain), Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root, Ben Duckett, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Zafar Ansari, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad.
Although India had lost the previous three Test series against the English side, this time around they are termed favourites to get past England and continue the dominant run they are having in the Test cricket for more than a year.
While India come in this series on the back of a 3-0 cleansweep against New Zealand, England have arrived in India after 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in a two-match Test series.
The Alastair Cook-led team lost the second Test match against Bangladesh as the sub-continent team spun their way to an unprecedented victory to level the series 1-1.
While the entire world is keenly awaiting to see who, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, wins the US Presidential elections, cricket fans will also be glued to their television sets as the much-awaited Test series begins....