Root stars for solid England

Joe Root helped England to a good position on day two of the fourth Test

Joe Root helped England to a good position on day two of the fourth Test

First published in National Sport News © by

Debutant Joe Root was England's joint top-scorer in a hard-working 330 all out on the second afternoon of the final Test against India.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman, 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 innings of 73.

It was yet to be established how valuable his fine effort, and England's sum total, would prove - and India's teatime 32 for one in reply was not yet a reliable indication either.

Root's range of stroke, like everyone else's, was constrained by the limitations of a deathly slow Nagpur pitch. But he became 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).

There were no scrapes against any of the bowlers until Prior succumbed to Ravichandran Ashwin. The off-spinner struck, from round the wicket, with a delivery that did not turn but snaked past Prior's defensive push on the angle to hit off-stump.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni sensibly turned straight back to Ishant Sharma (three for 49), to attack the new batsman, and that obvious switch worked when Tim Bresnan missed an inswinger to go for a second-ball duck.

Root was to go first after lunch - untypically up the wicket to drive leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and succeeding only in chipping back a return catch.

He had little reason for self-reproach - a statement which also applied to Swann, despite the regrettable attempted reverse-sweep which eventually proved his undoing lbw to Chawla.

The leg-spinner also picked up the last wicket, that of James Anderson thanks to a sharp catch straight off the face of the bat by Cheteshwar Pujara at short-leg, to give Chawla flattering figures of four for 69.

Anderson quickly got his own back when he bowled the dangerous Virender Sehwag for a duck in the first over of India's innings, when the opener somehow managed to play defensively inside an inswinger and lost his middle-stump.

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