England piled on India’s agony as skipper Joe Root scored a superb double century in his 100th Test as the visitors amassed 555/8 by stumps on the second day of the first Test in Chennai on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Root became the first player to notch up a double ton in his 100th Test on the way to his 218 off 377 balls, while Ben Stokes hit a counter-attacking 82 off 118 balls, studded with 10 fours and three sixes.
At the end of day’s, Dominic Bess (28) and Jack Leach (6) were at the crease at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Root batted for nearly nine hours and his fifth Test double ton was laced with 19 hits to the fence and two maximums, one of which helped him to reach the milestone. The pace of his innings on the second day was a bit in contrast to how he played on the first day when he was the enforcer and Dom Sibley the grafter.
On the second morning, it was Ben Stokes who entered the stage and made it his own with big hitting. He smashed 10 fours and three sixes and let Root rotate the strike in their 124-run stand.
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.
Left-hander Stokes hit his 23rd Test half-century before falling to Shahbaz Nadeem’s left-arm spin.
Root and Ollie Pope then got going to frustrate the Indian bowlers before Ashwin Ravichandran 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.