'Phenomenal' Joe Root hits another double ton as England dominate India in first Test

Home side made to toil again after tourists end second day on 555-8 in Chennai

Joe Root hit 218 for England, his fifth double century, in the first Test against India in Chennai. Courtesy Sri Lanka Cricket
Powered by automated translation

Joe Root cracked another superb double century as England maintained their strong start in the opening Test against India.

The captain, who resumed on his overnight 128, hit a big six to pass 200 before departing in the final session for 218 in Chennai on Saturday.

Indian bowlers came back with four wickets in the evening session to check England's surge, although the tourists still ended the second day on a mammoth 555-8.

Root, who expertly kept India's spinners at bay in his 377-ball marathon, extended his golden run that followed match-winning scores of 228 and 186 against Sri Lanka in Tests last month. He has now hit five Test double centuries.

His remarkable feat came after a quickfire 82 from Ben Stokes and the pair put on 124 for the fourth wicket on a pitch made for batting.

"It's a bit frightening when you're at the other end and he makes it look so easy," Stokes said of his captain, who became the first player to hit a double century in his 100th Test. "At the moment, he's in incredible form, and to play as well as he's done in conditions that are alien to English batsmen is phenomenal.

"I'm not too sure we've had an England player play spin so well – with such ease and with such control. He makes it look very easy and it's a pleasure to watch."

Left-hander Stokes cracked his 23rd Test half-century – with 10 fours and three sixes – before falling to Shahbaz Nadeem's left-arm spin.

Root and Ollie Pope then got going to frustrate the Indian bowlers before Ravichandran Ashwin broke through.

Ashwin trapped Pope lbw for 34 and Nadeem got Root's prized scalp with a delivery that straightened up to hit the batsman's pad.

Root reviewed the call but replays showed the ball would have hit leg stump. India skipper Virat Kohli shook hands with his opposite number as he walked back to the pavilion.

Jos Buttler, playing his 50th Test, tried to take on the bowling with a few attacking shots but Sharma bowled him.

Sharma struck again next ball to bowl Jofra Archer for nought. Sharma reached 299 Test wickets in his 98th match.

Bess, who was dropped on 19 as Rohit Sharma spilled an easy chance at mid-wicket off Washington Sundar, and Leach, took the team to the close, adding 30 more runs.

Paceman Jasprit Bumrah, Ashwin and Nadeem have also claimed two wickets each after England elected to bat first on Friday.

"There's obviously more in the wicket for the spinners than the seamers, and you've got to give a lot of credit to Ishant and Bumrah for the way they run in," added Stokes. "We'll need to do that as well."