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Ind vs Eng, Ranchi: Joe Root- Cometh the hour, Cometh the Man

Root puts England back on track

England was down and almost out coming into the fourth Test in Ranchi, and with so much talk around with series in line, they needed their best batter to stand out with so much burden on his shoulder. And he didn’t only stand, but carried the whole team like he has been doing for the last decade. Cometh the hour, cometh the man- Joseph Edwards Root.

There was that inswing delivery that was troubling Root, with his heads falling over all the time. There was the Bazball theory which was shaping him in a new way, as he looked bewildered against both spin and pace. And then there was Jasprit Bumrah, who almost wakes up every morning to get Root dismissed.

Bumrah isn’t here. England opted to bat, and found themselves in early trouble. Root decided to show his own gameplan, putting the Bazball talk in bed and boy, didn’t he succeed? The famous whistle in the name of Root found noise in the last session.

Root and his old-school batting showed importance of situation-ship

Most of them speak about the importance of partnership in either batting or bowling; but hardly anyone speaks about the power of reading and renovating according to the situation-ship. What Root did today is a testament to the fact that always let your best player bat in a style they are most suited in, and they know how to bat. Certainly Root, with close to 12000 Test runs, 16% of whose came against India, knows the deal.

Root brings up his 31st century
©- Yorkshire CCC/ Twitter

England started well, as they have been doing in this series. But with one dismissal, another one was coming like a free article in the supermarket. At one point, England was 47/0, and suddenly by the end of the first session, in the next 62 runs, they lost their top five batters including captain Ben Stokes. Root was there almost, after surviving a close LBW shout on the very first delivery.

When he went to lunch, there could be various discussions. There could be discussions of him coming out and playing in an aggressive mode and looked to play fire with fire. But the situation England have been and especially with Root’s drop of form in the last seven months, the wisest thing would be to leave him bat as Root does. And Root decided to bat like his pre-Bazball era, with Ben Foakes giving him a good hand.

India, for the second session, kept the field vacant and sort of pushed Root to play the reverse sweep, the shot that perhaps would find a name in his autobiography at some point of time. Root denied and looked to put a huge price behind his wicket. Foakes had been excellent from the other end, giving so much help to his former England captain. Suddenly, every shot came of Root’s blade like he wants to put them.

Very few times in the series, he looked to attempt the late cut shot through the gully region that have given him so much runs in his career. That came of nicely today. The moment he reached his fifty, which was a score of over 30 after somewhat seven innings, he looked more attentive from thereon.

The eyes were perhaps telling that goal wasn’t about just a fifty, perhaps a hundred or more, but the key was to make a statement for his side, and for those young players of the England dressing room, those have been watching Root scoring truck loaded runs for all those years in such a comfortable way.

The match saving sixth wicket stand
©- Cricbuzz/ Twitter

The way he rushed for the couple or runs to reach 99*, it was sparkling to see. And it came finally. A drive through covers for a boundary as the crowd erupted- Joe Root celebrated his 31st Test century, 10th and highest century maker in Tests against India. He also stands 100 runs away from becoming the leading English batter to score Test runs in India as an opposition.

What he did brilliantly at the end was staying unbeaten and not being flowed with all the emotions he had been holding, perhaps since the start of the tour. But there is a disappointment! What’s that? The celebration! It was an easy way of smiling and showing his pinky finger to Stokes, which perhaps was a message. Who knows!

Akash Deep’s dream spell tortured England in the pre-lunch session

Was it dream? It was before 9 past 40 in Akash Deep’s life. It became reality in the next 20 odd minutes. It turned into an example of bad luck a few minutes later, and the sun rises 10-mintues later and stayed for the whole day.

Life cane be cruel, and messy and challenging. It was all for the young boy who has seen everything in his early career. The opening spell of a debutant, which was a pacer, and that too in India, and that too against a team suited to play the fast bowlers was nothing sort of extraordinary.

The way he started and the first ball was right on the money, and that was a sight of aggression in his face, something which has been common in Indian cricket of late. The ball he bowled to Zak Crawley with awkward bounce was telling the kid’s extreme ability of exploring the pitch early on.

Akash Deep with his dream morning spell
©- BCCI/ Twitter

The best story would have been him describing about his maiden wicket as cartwheeling the stumps of an opening batter. But just how everyone has a villain in their story, Akash had himself, and his stretched foot that denied him that prize scalp. He, however, a few overs later found the outside edge of Duckett to feel the moment. Two balls later, he trapped Ollie Pope before the stumps, who used his feet to cover the swing.

He almost had Root in the same over too. How cool it would have been? Had he got Root at that time, which kind of could be coined as a lucky shot for Joe, India would have been batting at the end of the day. So what?

Two overs later, he found his old fish, yes an old fish in his very first game. Crawley was down on his knees as the ball jagged back sharply and cut the batter in half and went on to hit the top of off-stump- pacers delight. Akash Deep’s dream three wicket spell in the morning painted India Red.

India got little carried away as Root made them suffer

No matter how bad his form would be, and how much talk would be behind him, Joe Root is a class, and there was never doubt behind his temperament. Did India miss a trick?

First of all, they didn’t have Bumrah and Root, after all these struggles, was never going to play away plastic shot at all in one of his vital Test innings. The way his heads were moving, a few balls early on at the fifth or sixth stumps could have dragged the outside edge of Root! And the game would have been half done by that point.

Zephyr Kane Williamson & the Art of Portraying Silent Runs

The second session saw both Root and Foakes shutting all their shots and India just went with the flow. They could have blocked the singles and pushed Root to play a bit unnaturally, the way he has been doing. It may not make any difference but they could have at least tried something different.

Root was in his bubble at that moment, and the best plan would have been to break the bubble and make him doing funky things. India didn’t try. Even when Root was getting towards the 100, the best would have been putting more close in fielder. No matter how sweet a batter looks for his first 90 runs, the last five to 10 runs could be the most trickiest.

And with the time and form Root was going through, it was indeed. Whatever it is, Root is still on 106 and he will start fresh. On a pitch that had some uneven bounce for the whole first day, the first innings lead will be vital and at 302/7, India will be happy with the overall result after losing the toss. But from 112/5 to that point, they know they have slipped it.

And Sir Joseph Edward Root is on cloud nine at the moment.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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