Root's dream debut puts England in driving seat
CRICKET:Debutant Joe Root’s 73 runs and three more wickets from James Anderson combined to put India under pressure on day two of the final Test.
Twenty-one-year-old Root, a surprise inclusion for this match which England must at least draw to complete a series victory, rose to the occasion with a determined 229-ball knock in an England total of 330.
Anderson (three for 24) has been reliable and often expert all tour – and after he induced an India wobble to 87 for four at stumps, the value of Root’s fine effort was apparent. The young Yorkshireman’s range of stroke, like everyone else’s, was constrained by the limitations of a deathly slow Nagpur pitch.
But he was increasingly assured, in a century stand with Matt Prior (57) for the sixth wicket and then one of 60 for the eighth with Graeme Swann (56). Kevin Pietersen also made 73 yesterday, but Root could take much of the credit for England’s strong position.
Anderson didn’t hang around, bowling the dangerous Virender Sehwag for a duck in the first over of India’s innings, the opener somehow managing to play defensively inside an inswinger and losing his middle stump.
Pujara and Gautam Gambhir shared a half-century stand either side of tea until the number three fell in unfortunate circumstances. Ian Bell produced an outstanding ‘catch’, diving to his right to take the ball one-handed just off the turf; the snag, though, was that Swann had beaten the bat and hit Pujara only on the underside of his arm before another deflection off his pad.
Sachin Tendulkar’s miserable series continued when Alastair Cook recalled Anderson to take the veteran master batsman’s wicket for a record ninth time in Tests.
When Anderson then saw off Gambhir as well in a spell of two for three in four overs, it was evident for the first time that England were taking control.