Joe Root steadies ship for England after both openers go early

Published: Friday 16th December 2016 by The News Editor

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Joe Root helped to steer England away from yet more trouble against India to a shaky 68 for two at lunch on day one of the fifth Test.

Both openers were gone in the first hour at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, after Alastair Cook won his fourth toss out of five – only for more struggles to ensue, in keeping with England’s tour-long strife on the way to series defeat and a 3-0 deficit with just this final match remaining.

Cook, who will be 32 on Christmas Day, became the youngest man to reach 11,000 runs when his push to cover off Umesh Yadav from the first ball of the Test brought him two, thanks to a misfield.

But there were to be only another eight for him here, following Keaton Jennings back – to his tour nemesis Ravindra Jadeja, who got him for the fifth time in the series via an edge to slip on the front-foot defence.

Before then, Jennings had added just a 17-ball single – following his maiden hundred and then golden duck on debut last week – when he edged a drive behind at Ishant Sharma from round the wicket.

On a pitch providing just a little assistance already for Jadeja and home-town hero Ravi Ashwin, at 21 for two England were in near immediate danger of failing to post a credible first-innings total.

Moeen Ali needed a moment of fortune too, when his chip over midwicket off Jadeja got him off the mark but only after flicking through KL Rahul’s outstretched hands.

Root (44no) and Moeen then avoided any further mishap, however, in a stand of 47 which benefited at one point from a very handy five extra penalty runs when a throw from fine-leg landed straight on the spare helmet kept behind the wicketkeeper.

England did not mind how the runs came, as long as they did so – and needed all the extras help they could get.

They brought Liam Dawson into this match, their fifth debutant in seven Tests since leaving home for Bangladesh two-and-a-half months ago.

Stuart Broad returned from injury in place of James Anderson, sitting this match out with “body soreness” – while India made two changes, Ishant in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jayant Yadav missing with a hamstring niggle as leg-spinner Amit Mishra came back.

:: A minute’s silence was held before play, and both teams wore black armbands, in memory of the victims of Cyclone Vardah – which hit Chennai on Monday – and prominent politician Jayalalithaa Jayaram, who died last week.

Published: Friday 16th December 2016 by The News Editor

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