Chennai: Centurion Joe Root continued to frustrate the Indian attack and a calculated assault by all rounder Ben
Stokes, who hit a stroke filled half century, took England to a strong position at lunch on the second day of the first test here today.
At the break, England were 355 for three in 119 overs with its skipper unbeaten on 156 (277, 16×4, 2×6)–his highest score against India–and Stokes batting on 63 (98 balls, 9×4, 2×6) as the duo added 92 runs in 29.3 overs for the unbroken fourth wicket.
The battle of attrition continued as Indian speedsters Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah bowled a nagging length. Offie R Ashwin varied his line and length and left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem was able to get some turn from the rough, but Root and Stokes frustrated them with a solid display.
It was an absorbing contest as Stokes, who was dismissed by Ashwin seven times in Tests–more than by any other bowler–shown his attacking intent early on, dumping the 16th ball he faced down the ground over mid-off for six.
While Root was content in playing with a straight bat and punished the loose deliveries, Stokes targetted the spinners with a calculated assault, slog sweeping Ashwin to the midwicket fence.
After Root reached his 150 of 260 balls (10th 150 in his career), Stokes, who reverse swept the spinners, hit a pair of boundaries off Nadeem to reach his 23rd half century in just 73 balls, hitting six fours and two sixers fours, before hitting two successive boundaries off another offie Washington Sundar, who was brought shortly before the lunch, to pile up the misery on the bowlers, besides ensuring steady run flow.
When Stokes joined Root on the second morning, he made his intentions clear as he chose to attack, while the England skipper, resuming at 128, displayed sound technique and chose to drop anchor.
The fact Root has scored just two boundaries on the second day, was a proof of how dominant was Stokes in his approach, picking a majority of runs in boundaries.
Though wicketless in the session, the Indian bowlers tried hard and a couple of difficult chances came their way as Root and Stokes batted England to a commanding position.
Following is the scoreboard :
England (first innings):
Rory Burns c Rishab Pant b R Ashwin 33
Dom Sibley lbw Jasprit Bumrah 87
Dan Lawrence lbw Jasprit Bumrah 0
Joe Root (batting) 156
Ben Stokes (batting) 63
Extras : (LB-4, nb-12) 16
Total : 355 for three in 119 overs.
Fall of wickets : 1-63, 2-63, 3-263.
Ishant Sharma 19-5-37-0
Jasprit Bumrah 24-4-57-2
R Ashwin 35-3-92-1
Shahbaz Nadeem 26-3-100-0
Washington Sundar 15-0-65-0