England on top against India as Joe Root and Moeen Ali light up day one in Rajkot
The visitors amass 311-4 with the Decision Review System in use for the first time in a bilateral series in the country
England’s Joe Root hit a sparkling century and Moeen Ali was unbeaten on 99 as the tourists finished the opening day of the first test against India in a strong position on 311-4.
Root, whose ton was his 11th in tests and third against India, was out for 124 after putting on 179 for the fourth wicket with left-hander Moeen after England were 102-3 at lunch.
He was dismissed by Umesh Yadav though it needed confirmation from the television umpire after the paceman seemed to have lost control of the ball while celebrating the return catch.
The 25-year-old Root hit 11 boundaries and a six in his 180-ball knock and looked largely untroubled until Yadav struck his pad in the penultimate over before tea with the batsman on 92.
India captain Virat Kohli made his first use of Decision Review System (DRS) but failed to overturn the on-field not out decision after replays showed the ball was clipping the leg stump.
“We always thought seam might be a bit useful early on, and the guys at the top did well,” Root said.
“We just knew we needed to build a partnership. I thought Mo was outstanding as well, look forward to watching him continue tomorrow.”
Moeen was one run short of his fourth test hundred at the close with Ben Stokes unbeaten on 19.
England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a Rajkot pitch he regarded as a traditional Indian wicket that would assist the slower bowlers as the game progressed.
A nervy Cook lived a charmed life against India’s new-ball pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Yadav when the left-hander was dropped twice behind the wicket in the first two overs.
The opener seemed to have overcome his jittery start and moved to 21 by the end of the first hour’s play before he was adjudged out leg before wicket to spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Cook was unfortunate to be given out off an incorrect decision from the umpire, with replays showing the ball missing leg stump, and his new opening partner Haseeb Hameed offered little assistance by advising against asking for a review.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 9, 2016
It was the first time the DRS was being used for a bilateral series in India and England erred a second time when they eventually opted to use the technology.
The 19-year-old Hameed, who became England’s youngest opener on his debut, wasted one of the two reviews available to his team when he failed to overturn a leg before decision off Ravichandran Ashwin after compiling a composed knock of 31.
“[Hameed’s DRS] was my fault,” Root said.
“I thought he was excellent, looking so comfortable in an environment he’s not used to.”
Ben Duckett, who opened for England in last month’s series in Bangladesh, was pushed down the order to accommodate Hameed and made a brisk start by hitting Ashwin for three boundaries in four balls.
But India’s spearhead gained revenge in his next over when Ajinkya Rahane stooped to complete a smart low catch at slip to send Duckett back to the pavilion for 13 and bring the players in for lunch.