Root’s England thrash dismal India

Afp, Chennai

10 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Root’s England thrash dismal India

England players celebrate after beating India in the first of four-match Test series in Chennai on Tuesday. — Collected photo

Joe Root led England to an emphatic 227-run win over India in the opening Test on Tuesday, taking the upper hand in their bid for a rare series victory against the hosts on their patch.

Paceman James Anderson took the key wickets in a magical spell as India were dismissed for 192 on the final day while chasing a record 420 to win in Chennai. Spinner Jack Leach claimed four wickets.

"It is a very good victory but in the scheme of the series, it is just the start," Root told reporters.

"India are a brilliantly good team, especially in these conditions and a proud nation as well. They will come back hard at us, but to sit here 1-0 up is really good."

In the opener, the England captain outfoxed India, who were on a high after their sensational series triumph in Australia last month, with his bat and his tactics.

He became the first batsman to score a double century in his 100th Test as his 218 guided England to 578 in the first innings. He was also the top scorer with 40 in the second innings of 178.

Root acknowledged that it had been a "crucial toss" to win in order to make the big first innings.

"But from that point we had to follow through and make the most of a very good wicket. We did that very well and posted a good score," he said.

"To take 20 wickets in very alien conditions, to our bowlers is huge credit."

The win has taken England to the top of the World Test Championship table as India drop to fourth. The series will decide who will meet New Zealand in the final at Lord's in June.

India were hanging on to the chase after Leach struck early with the wicket of overnight batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for 15, and Anderson using his reverse swing on the wearing pitch to claim three wickets.

Shubman Gill completed his third Test fifty in just his fourth game before Anderson took away his off-stump. Three balls later he cleaned up Ajinkya Rahane for nought.

Anderson got India's first innings hero Pant for 11 and spinner Dom Bess chipped in with the wicket of Washington Sundar for nought as India slipped to 117-6.

India captain Virat Kohli fought a lone battle, reaching his 24th Test fifty before being bowled by Ben Stokes for 72 on a delivery that stayed low.

Leach and fast bowler Jofra Archer combined to run through the tail.