Tea England 182 for 3 (Moeen 63*, Bairstow 10*, Jadeja 2-54) v India
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A third-wicket partnership of 146 between Joe Root and Moeen Ali pulled England ahead on the first day of the fifth Test before Ravindra Jadeja struck half an hour from tea to restore parity to proceedings. Sweeping the left-arm spinner from outside off stump, Root, on 88, got a thin inside-edge – revealed by Real-Time Snickometer, after India reviewed the on-field not-out decision – through to the wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. At tea, England were 182 for 3, with Moeen batting on 63 and Jonny Bairstow on 10.
Apart from the one that got him out, the sweep was a productive stroke for Root, who made his 11th 50-plus score in 11 Tests against India. He was judicious in choosing the right line to sweep, avoiding playing the shot against stump-to-stump deliveries, but showed a dazzling ability to play the shot against a wide range of lengths. He paddled a near half-volley from R Ashwin from outside off stump towards fine leg, and held his shape, without getting down fully on his back knee, to stay on top of the bounce and flat-bat a back-of-a-length ball from Jadeja through midwicket. In all, the sweep and the slog-sweep fetched him 29 runs off 13 balls, including five fours.
There were a couple of other excellent shots too, including a deft dab to the third man boundary off an Umesh Yadav yorker and a skip down the pitch to hit R Ashwin over the top when he brought mid-on up. Not for the first time in the series, he batted with a calm fluency in conditions where his team-mates looked uncertain.
Moeen began scratchily, and looked particularly insecure before lunch, when Ashwin beat his outside edge repeatedly, scrambling his footwork with his changes of pace, trajectory and angle. Before he got off the mark, he enjoyed a life when he flicked Jadeja uppishly and through the hands of KL Rahul, who mistimed his jump at midwicket. In the previous over, Root, batting on 9, had sent an edge flying between gully and the lone, wide slip while looking to punch Umesh off the back foot.
More to follow…
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo