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Day 2 of the 3rd Test between England and India: Joe Root's 23rd century adds to India's misery in Leeds

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Friday, 27th August 2021

On Thursday, England skipper Joe Root hit his third century in as many Tests against India, bringing his team closer to a series-leveling victory at the Yorkshire batsman's home field of Headingley. Root's 121, his third century in as many matches this series, was the highlight of England's 423-8 at stumps on the second day of the third Test, as they built a massive first-innings lead of 345 after dismissing India for just 78 on Wednesday. Root's recent century made him the only England batsman to achieve six Test hundreds in a calendar year, joining Denis Compton (1947) and Michael Vaughan (2002), with the all-time record of nine, set by Pakistan's Mohammed Yousuf in 2006, now in his sights.

Root's 23rd Test century included numerous classic smashes that would have won 'Lord Ted' praise on a day when England grieved the passing of former captain Ted Dexter, one of their most stylish batsman, at the age of 86.

With openers Rory Burns (61) and Haseeb Hameed (68), as well as recalled No 3 Dawid Malan (70), all reaching half-centuries in the same Test innings for the first time since a match against New Zealand in Dunedin in 2013.

England's shortage of top-order runs has been so severe that in 20 Test innings this year, they have failed to reach 50 runs before losing their second wicket 16 times.

Root, on the other hand, walked into bat on Wednesday with England on 159-2.

After veteran spearhead James Anderson ripped through India's top order with a return of 3-6 in eight overs to ignite a stunning collapse, England resumed on 120-0.

Burns was 52 not out at the time, and Hameed was 60 not out.

However, before lunch, England's 22nd opening partnership since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012 was broken up.

Burns had only contributed nine runs when he was bowled by Mohammed Shami while playing down the incorrect line, leaving England at 135-1.

Malan, who was returned after England discarded struggling batsman Dom Sibley, got off to a good start with a cover-driven boundary off Jasprit Bumrah and two more fours off Mohammed Siraj.

Hameed, who had been promoted to open in place of Sibley after a five-year exile from Test cricket ended with him scoring just nine runs in total at Lord's, had added just eight runs to his overnight total and had spent 28 deliveries on 68 when he was bowled by a sharply turning delivery from left-armer Ravindra Jadeja, the first wicket taken by an Indian spinner this series.


Also Read: Because of the "incessant number of functions," Neeraj Chopra says India can't be satisfied with just one gold.


Root, who scored 109 in the drew at Trent Bridge and a stunning 180 not out in India's 151-run victory at Lord's in the second Test, seemed in fine form when guiding Shami for two fours in three deliveries behind square on the offside.

Root reached fifty with a back-foot pushing drive off Shami past point for four after India got the new ball. It was his sixth boundary in 57 balls faced.

Malan then square-cut a four from Shami to take his score to 49 before a single off the paceman propelled him to a 99-ball fifty with eight boundaries.

With the penultimate ball before tea, he was caught behind off Mohammed Siraj, leaving England 298-3.

Root was in perfect control as he achieved a century in just 124 balls in front of 16,721 spectators, including his parents, when he clipped the tired Ishant Sharma to the midwicket boundary for his 12th four.

When he was bowled between bat and pad while attempting to drive Bumrah, it came as a shock.

As he came back into the pavilion, Root was greeted with thunderous applause from the Headingley faithful, with only Alastair Cook (33), Root's predecessor as captain, having made more Test hundreds for England.

Late in the day, England lost a few more wickets, but their lead was so large that it didn't matter.


The News Talkie Bureau



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