England skipper Joe Root hit a century in his 100th Test, but needed a helping hand from Virat Kohli as the length of his impressive innings took its toll.
Root entered the fray in the First Test against India with England 2/63 in the 26th over but was still standing at stumps on 128 not out and his side 3/263.
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He had to be helped back to his feet at one point late in the day after suffering from leg cramps.
Kohli, who was an abrasive character early in his career but has been winning hearts in recent years, including when he defended Steve Smith from an abusive crowd at the 2019 World Cup, was on hand to help his opposite number stretch his calf. And cricket fans loved it.
Virat Kohli helping Joe Root with cramp. My word. ? pic.twitter.com/KR5Mdpav7k
Virat Kohli to the rescue as Joe Root goes down with cramp, having hit a wonderful century ?
Test cricket really is the best pic.twitter.com/fKBt8faF1c
kohli has now rescued smith from boos and root from cramps #INDvsENG
Root said England need a minimum of 600 runs in their first innings after Dom Sibley fell to paceman Jasprit Bumrah for 87 in the final over of day one in Chennai.
England elected to bat after winning the toss in the first match of the four-Test series and Root put on 200 runs with Sibley.
“I think we’ve got to look to try and get as many as we can – 600, 700 if we can, really try and make the most of the first innings while it’s good,” Root told reporters.
“Those footholes are starting to wear quite quickly. So, if we can bat the whole of tomorrow and maybe into day three then things could speed up quite quickly for us and you never know what can happen from that point onwards, but ultimately we’ve got to try and back up today.”
ROOT IN THE FORM OF HIS LIFE
Root made his Test debut in India in 2012 and his century comes on the back of matchwinning knocks of 228 and 186 in Sri Lanka.
Friday’s effort was his third successive and 20th Test ton and termed it a “very special” knock.
“Yeah, very special. Last night the guys actually put a little surprise together for me – put some videos from some past players, some friends and family. And Ben in particular, stood up and said some really kind words,” said Root.
“Then to come today and for us to start this series in the way that we have – it couldn’t have gone any better bar a little blip at the end there.”
'I was a little bit all over the place' – Joe Root on the emotions of playing his 100th Test #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/CJ9AiUlQk1
“I certainly feel like I’m in some good form and I need to make sure I cash in on it I think over the course of my career, I’ve not always gone on and made really big scores so to be going and doing that currently is really pleasing,” he added.
“I’ve worked on a few technical things I’ve looked at a few areas of my game. I’ve looked at certain trends of how I was getting out at certain types of my innings, and tried to eradicate it.”
The 30-year-old handled the spinners with aplomb as he swept — and reverse swept — to precision in his 197-ball knock. He struck 14 fours and a six.
BUMRAH BLAMES SCUFFED BALL
Bumrah blamed a coronavirus ban on shining the ball with saliva for bowlers not getting more wickets.
Bumrah, playing his first Test at home, said it was tough to maintain the old ball without applying saliva – a practice that aids reverse swing.
“When the wicket is on flatter side, because of new COVID-19 rules, there are very limited options to shine the ball, so in India the ball gets scuffed easily,” Bumrah told reporters.
“So to make the ball heavy you have to shine one side sometimes. With sweat it doesn’t really serve the purpose. But these are the rules and we have to make do with what we have at the moment.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) last year implemented the ban at the peak of the pandemic after receiving medical advice that spit posed a COVID-19 transmission risk.
The series will decide who plays New Zealand in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship.
— with AFP
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