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IND vs ENG 2021 Headingley Test, Day 2: Joe Root’s 121 piles on the agony for India, England in cruise control 

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Another superlative hundred by England captain Joe Root – his third of the series and 23rd in Tests – highlighted the hosts’ second successive day of dominance in the third Test at Headingley. England ended Day 2 at 423 for 8, with a massive lead of 345 and three full days of play left.

Root smashed 121 with the aid of 14 fours as India’s bowlers continued to look insipid on a pitch that offered them nothing. The England captain’s dominance can be gauged by the fact that he scored his runs at a healthy strike rate of 73.33.

The English skipper brought out his full range of strokes as India’s bowlers could only watch in desperation. His leap of joy on reaching three figures demonstrated what the innings meant to him after the stinging Lord’s defeat.

The in-form England skipper reached the landmark by flicking Ishant Sharma, who did not look a 100 percent, wide of mid-on for a four.

It needed something special from India to see the back of Root. Jasprit Bumrah produced the moment with a perfectly-pitched delivery that nipped back sharply and bowled Root through the gate. England were 383 for 6 at the time of Root’s dismissal, with their lead already over 300 runs.

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Earlier, Mohammed Shami sent back both Jonny Bairstow (29) and Jos Buttler (7) to be rewarded for some tight bowling. Moeen Ali perished soon after Root, giving a tame catch to mid-on off Ravindra Jadeja. The dismissals, though, meant little in the context of the game.

Root-Malan partnership frustrates India

Dawid Malan contributed 70 in his comeback Test innings. Pic: Getty Images
Dawid Malan contributed 70 in his comeback Test innings. Pic: Getty Images

Earlier, England captain Root and comeback man Dawid Malan featured in a third-wicket stand of 139. With the England openers having done their job, Root and Malan enjoyed themselves out in the middle, punishing the Indian bowlers.

The England skipper carried on his amazing form and needed only 57 balls to raise yet another half-century. Malan was, expectedly, a little more circumspect but justified the selectors’ decision to recall him for the longer format with a well-compiled fifty. Neither Root nor Malan looked in any trouble and the Indian bowlers, just like the pitch, were completely flat.

It needed a slice of luck for the visitors to end the frustrating stand. At the stroke of tea, Malan (70) tried to flick a ball from Mohammed Siraj down leg. There was an appeal for caught-behind but no one, except the bowler, seemed really interested. Siraj, somehow, convinced Kohli to take the DRS. UltraEdge showed a spike and India had something to cheer about at the end of a tough session.

England, though, were very much in ascendancy at 298 for 3. The lead for the hosts had swelled to 220 ahead of the last session of Day 2. Root and Malan joined forces after India managed to dislodge the opening pair of Roy Burns (61) and Haseeb Hameed (68), who looked impregnable on Day 1.

Burns was the first England wicket to fall on the day as Shami nipped one back into the left-hander and bowled him through the gap between bat and pad. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja then got one to rip past Hameed’s defence to end his resistance.

Root and Malan, however, ensured that there were not many smiles on India’s faces for much of the day.


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