England batsman Joe Root believes the tourists have laid the groundwork for another landmark victory over India after an encouraging start to the Test series in Rajkot on Wednesday.
Root top-scored with 124 and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 179 with Moeen Ali as England recovered from 102-3 to finish day one of the first Test in control on 311-4.
India, the world’s No1-ranked team, have won 12 and drawn one of their 13 Test matches on home soil since England’s last visit in 2012, when Alastair Cook’s men ended a 27-year wait for a series win in India.
“The way we played throughout the day was fantastic,” said Root, who has scored a half-century in all seven of his Tests against India.
“We always thought that seam bowling would be useful early on, but the guys handled it well and that allowed the boys in the middle order to build partnerships.
“We just knew we needed a partnership and to get something going and I thought Mo played extremely well. I’m looking forward to watching him bat all day. It’s very pleasing; it’s a good position to build on.”
Debutant Hameed impresses Root
Lancashire prodigy Haseeb Hameed, 19, the youngest man to open the batting for England since 1906, made 31 on his debut before becoming one of three wickets to fall before lunch.
“It’s very pleasing to see him start well in Test cricket and hopefully that’s something now he can build on and flourish into a very fine player,” Root added.
“From the side it just didn’t look like anything fazed him at all and, batting at No3 behind him and Cookie, you feel very comfortable sat in the dressing room.”
England ride early luck
England won the toss and their unexpectedly good start to the match was aided by slack fielding, as India dropped Cook twice and Hameed once in the first hour.
The tourists responded by removing both players and Ben Duckett for the loss of 55 runs. Ravi Ashwin claimed two scalps, though it was a mixed day for the world’s No1 bowler, who conceded 108 runs.
Root and Moeen frustrated India once again, batting through the afternoon as the former registered an 11th Test hundred and the latter ended the day just one run shy of his fourth.
Root's controversial dismissal
Vice-captain Root departed in controversial circumstances when his loose drive was caught by bowler Umesh Yadav, whose control of the ball was in question when he immediately launched it skywards in celebration.
“There’s no point arguing it. I set off walking anyway so we will leave it at that,” said Root.
“I was disgusted with the shot I played but you get those decisions. I was very lucky to get an umpire’s call go my way early on in the innings so sometimes you have to take it on the chin.”