Shami, Root sparkle in shared afternoon session

Mohammed Shami bowled his heart out on Wednesday afternoon to hurt England twice in three overs and helped India stay in control for more than half of that session. But for Joe Root, who even if scratchy, was good enough to limit the damage that could have been caused to the hosts, India may have moved in to the ascendancy. Instead, Root scored yet another fifty for himself, furthering his record of most fifties in successive Tests against an opposition. And it was not the only record for the England skipper on the day as he now holds the record for the fewest number of days taken to get to 6000 Test runs. Between the impactful performances of these individuals, the two teams reached Tea with honours shared as England reached 163 for 3.

Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav began the proceedings much like the first session and again, it was only Ishant who looked incisive by beating Root more than once at the top of the session. There were daft plays and misses, with an attempted cut almost ending as an underedge to the ‘keeper. Just as Ishant was getting predictable with a barrage of inswingers, one that straightened almost took the edge of a tentative Root.

While Ishant threw in his share of salvos at Root from one end, Shami was brought back into the attack and caused damage immediately. Opener Keaton Jennings (42) unfortunately nicked an innocuous delivery through his legs to see a bail coming off. As if that was the bit of luck that Shami required, he was quick to remove the new man Dawid Malan. Shami’s eagerness to operate from round the wicket to the left-hander paid dividends again as a nip-backer rapped Malan on the kneeroll for the umpire to rule it out. Against their wish, England’s review fell flat as an umpire’s call reinstated the onfield call.

R Ashwin, who brought India the first breakthrough, experimented through his variety and managed to question the batsmen’s defence on more occasions than one, more memorable being a streaky edge from Root that went through the gully area to bring up his 6000th Test run. Subsequently, the fifty came calling too.

Against the run of play, Shami was removed from the attack while in the middle of a strong spell. Jonny Bairstow was lucky to see the outside edge fly through a vacant gully region on two occasions but bar that, England would be happy, since there could have been more damage.

Brief Scores: England 163/1 at Tea (Joe Root 65*, Keaton Jennings 42; Mohammed Shami 2-27) vs India.

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