Sure footwork and judicious use of the sweep shots were the key factors in him getting a hundred on day one of the opening Test against India, said England batsman Joe Root. “I am just trying to be positive with my footwork. Get right forward, get right back with my feet at times and when it was available, use the sweep shot. Make it hard for them to settle into one line and length,” said Root after playing an attractive innings of 124 in just under four hours.
Riding on his 11th Test hundred, third against India and first in Asia, Moeen Ali’s unbeaten 99 and their fourth wicket partnership of 179, England ended the first day at a strong 311 for four. Root said the right-left combination of himself and Ali did not allow the Indian bowlers to build up pressure.
“And batting with Moeen, who was also batting very freely and kept it ticking over, and as a left-hander, it was just difficult for them to build any sort of pressure. It is going to be really important for us to build on that as a team. And if we manage to do that it is going to be quite difficult for them to build that pressure in the first innings.
“It might be different in the second innings when the ball starts to spin more and variable bounce coming in as well. But if we can start well in the first innings to make those big scores, then should give us a great opportunity when it comes to bowling as well,” said Root.
He said scoring on both sides of the wicket against the Indian spinners was also another important factor.
“It wasn’t a specific approach. More than anything, as soon as anyone lets go out of the ball, you just got to play what’s coming at you. We tried to make sure we used the both sides of the wicket. Not just score with the spin, but try and do against it if the opportunities arose. Make it hard for (Ashwin) him to bowl one length.
“If you look at people’s records, that can change very quickly. You got to actually respect these guys for being successful for a long period of time and even for the previous series. But when it comes down, you just got to play what is in front of you. And we did that really well today. Challenge is to do it for all five games.”
He was happy with the start England have had.
“Yeah, it’s a nice start to this series. Something to build on now and it was a great day of cricket for us. Hopefully tomorrow Moeen and Stokesy (Ben Stokes) can go on and make a really big score, big partnership and take us into a really good position going into the second innings.”
He admitted England erred in DRS use on the first day.
“I think he (Captain Alastair Cook) discussed it with Haseeb (Hameed) at the other end. But it’s hard for a guy on debut to tell the captain. It’s hard enough already and it’s hard to tell him to walk off. He felt (Cook) went quite far across the stumps and he was pretty disappointed he didn’t use it but these things happen in cricket and you just have to get on with it.
“Yeah, that (Use of DRS after Hameed was declared out lbw) was my fault. We didn’t quite get it right today – the referrals – and I’ve sort of made it a habit to get them wrong, hopefully I can change it through the rest of the series.”
Root said the pitch will assist not only the spinners but also the quicker bowlers.
“Yeah I think it will spin later on in the game. I think variable bounce will come in as well. I think our seamers will take some pleasure in seeing it reverse swing after 35 overs as well. I think those three guys will be looking forward to hopefully having a big score on the board to defend and give an opportunity to be aggressive when they get the ball in their hands,” he said.