Moeen Ali and Joe Root pulled England back into contention on day one of the fifth Test against India after a poor start, with Ali scoring an unbeaten century as England reached 284-4 at the close on Friday.
With the series won by India, Ali, mixing watchfulness against India’s potent spin attack with aggression, was unbeaten on 120, while Ben Stokes was 5 not out. They had added 31 runs for the fifth wicket.
Root and Jonny Bairstow added steel to the English batting after England’s openers were dismissed cheaply. He put on 146 runs for the third wicket with Joe Root, who scored his 27th Test half-century.
Post tea, Ali and Bairstow (49) continued their fourth-wicket partnership as England went past the 200-mark in the 65th over.
Ali survived a second DRS review, for lbw off Amit Mishra (0-52) this time, and the umpire’s decision stayed in the batsman’s favour.
He then reached his century off 203 balls, including nine fours. In all, he faced 220 deliveries and hit 12 fours. It was Ali’s fifth Test hundred.
After adding 86 for the fourth wicket with Ali, Bairstow offered a simple catch to Lokesh Rahul at cover off Ravindra Jadeja (3-73).
India took the second new ball in the 86th over, but were unable to take another wicket.
The visitors won their fourth toss in five Tests and opted to bat. Alastair Cook (10) crossed 11,000 runs in his Test career. At the other end, Keaton Jennings (1) was caught behind off Ishant Sharma (1-25).
Spin was introduced in the ninth over, and Ravindra Jadeja (3-73) troubled Cook from the very outset before dismissing the England skipper for a fifth time in this series and adding to speculation he will step down as captain at the end of the series, to be replaced by Root.
Cook was caught at slip as England were reduced to 21-2 in the 13th over. Two overs later, Jadeja could have picked up a second wicket, but Lokesh Rahul dropped Ali at midwicket.
Ali then tightened his game and settled down to build a partnership with Root.
Root scored his half-century off 91 balls, while Ali reached the mark off 111 balls. They brought up the 100-partnership off 181 balls, while England’s 100 came up in the 38th over.
The English vice-captain had on Thursday practised on a road, within the confines of the stadium, since the practice nets weren’t available owing to a cyclone that tore through the city on Monday.
“My feet were all over the place in Mumbai against the seamers so I just wanted to iron some things out. It was the firmest surface we could find, and I managed to sort a few things out, going into this game with peace of mind,” said Root, after the day’s play.
He scored his fifth half-century in this series, but once again failed to go big. He was out caught behind while sweeping Jadeja, an under-edge ending his knock. The decision went up for DRS review, and Root wasn’t happy with it.
“I was convinced I didn’t hit it, but technology suggested otherwise. It was frustrating because I was convinced there was nothing. Even the keeper was not interested. But Virat Kohli went for it and it worked out,” said Root.
Ali then took centre-stage. He added 86 runs for the fourth wicket with Jonny Bairstow (49) as England went past the 200-mark in the 65th over.
In the final session, he survived another review, for lbw again but off Amit Mishra (0-52) this time, and the umpire’s decision stayed in the batsman’s favor.
He then reached his century off 203 balls, inclusive of nine fours. In all, he faced 220 deliveries and hit 12 fours.
“The way Moeen played through the day was quite excellent. He showed maturity when starting the innings in a tough situation. He has done it through the year with the added responsibility of batting higher up the order. Hopefully he can kick on and bat deep tomorrow, and help us get 500 runs so we can put India under pressure,” said Root.
Courtesy : Dawn News