Odisha News Hour

Against India, Joe Root regains his form to stabilize England after a chaotic start

<p>After a frantic start to the fourth Test against India in Ranchi, Joe Root and Ben Foakes battled an uncertain surface to stabilize England in a timely manner.</p>
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<p>Following rookie Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul, England was reduced to 112 for five following Ben Stokes’ fall to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber on a fractured pitch that greatly aided India’s spinners.</p>
<p>Though England was 198 for five when Root reached his first fifty in seven innings, going back to the Ashes last summer, he went to lunch on 67 not out, with Foakes unbeaten on 28 in an uninterrupted partnership of 86.</p>
<p>After being dismissed in the first innings at Rajkot, which was seen as a sliding doors moment in England’s crushing loss, Root took criticism and decided to forgo his reverse ramps in favor of a more methodical, conventional strategy to neutralize India’s quicks and spinners.</p>
<p>After England’s top order was given a severe working over this week, the conditions relaxed in the second session. Stokes chose to bat this time, calling the surface “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” in a series in which his team is presently down 2-1.</p>
<p>Crawley and Ben Duckett had to deal with lateral movement in addition to the inconsistent bounce, and the openers were often defeated on the outside edge. After an in-ducker sent Crawley’s off-stump cartwheeling, he got a significant reprieve, but Deep’s overstepped momentarily prevented him from taking his first Test wicket.</p>
<p>After taking only four off his first sixteen balls, he drove and twice clipped for three straight fours before hitting a massive six off the pricey Siraj to take 28 off his next sixteen balls.</p>
<p>Despite England’s number three moving down the field, Duckett feathered behind after being done on the angle by Akash Deep, who then had Ollie Pope lbw two balls later. In addition to successfully contesting a not-out ruling after Root was hit on the pad first ball, India conducted a review.</p>
<p>After Root almost missed the boundary, Deep made up for his no-ball by clipping the top of Crawley’s off-stump for a 42-run run-a-ball. This put England three down.</p>
<p>The dysfunctional With an average of 17 in this series, Jonny Bairstow was particularly deliberate and fluid against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four before smashing two more boundaries in his subsequent over. It seemed like the Yorkshireman might have the better of the day when Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six.</p>
<p>But Ashwin misled Bairstow (38), luring him into another slog sweep. An LBW challenge was dismissed by umpire Rod Tucker, but a further review supported India, and Ashwin scored his 100th wicket against England.</p>
<p>Ben Stokes was leg-before an ankle-high shot from Jadeja at the stroke of lunch, making England’s situation worse. The captain of England trudged out before the umpire had raised his finger.</p>
<p>After a hectic morning, the afternoon began more calmly, with Root and Foakes settling for gradual accumulation as Ashwin and Jadeja worked together. England did not score a boundary until the 82nd ball of the second session, despite their being 13 fours and 2 sixes in the morning.</p>
<p>Root was especially effective behind square on both sides of the wicket and was cautious with the front and back foot, but the odd man staying low held him and Foakes, who hit his maiden four off his 66th delivery, in check.</p>
<p>India wasted their last review on a pointless lbw claim off Foakes as the England partnership played out a wicketless session after Root advanced to a fifty from 108 balls.</p>