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Joe Root hits century as England edge start of fourth Test against India

Root hits century as England edge start of fourth Test
© Reuters
England establish a stranglehold of the fourth Test against India after Joe Root hit an opening-day century in Ranchi.

Joe Root has hit a patient century on day one of the fourth Test to give England the edge over India in Ranchi.

The former skipper has come in for criticism of late, a consequence of poor form and rash shots at wrong times, yet he showed his class to take his side to 302-7 at stumps.

Root's innings was all the more impressive after England had been reduced to 112-5 at lunch on the back of winning the toss.

Such was the unpredictability of the pitch that England's batsmen never looked comfortable during the opening session, with Ollie Pope out for a two-ball duck and Ben Stokes being dismissed for just three.

Zak Crawley (42) and Jonny Bairstow (38) both made necessary knocks to keep England ticking over as Akash Deep took three wickets in place of the rested Jasprit Bumrah.

Facing a 2-1 deficit in the series, the game could have quickly been taken away from the tourists had Root and Ben Foakes not lasted the entire afternoon session and 43.1 overs in total.

Foakes would depart for 47 after tea, facing 126 balls, but Root would go on to post a 31st Test century having failed to score more than 29 in his six previous innings in the series.

Patience was the key for the team's senior batsmen, and it allowed the likes of Tom Hartley (13) and Ollie Robinson (31*) to bat with greater freedom down the order.

As it stands, it remains unclear whether the pitch will flatten or deteriorate as the game progresses, making it imperative that Root and Robinson kick on when they return on Saturday.

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India celebrate taking an England wicket in second Test on February 5, 2024.
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