CHENNAI, India – England finished day two of the first test against India at 555-8 after Joe Root scored his fifth test double hundred.
Root scored 218 runs, facing 377 deliveries, and hit 19 fours as well as two sixes.
Celebrating his 100th test in style, Root racked up the highest individual score in the milestone test, passing Inzamam ul Haq’s 184 for Pakistan in 2005.
Root reached the milestone off 341 deliveries shortly before tea. He became the first visiting batsman to score a double hundred in tests in India since New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum in 2010. McCullum was also the last batsman to reach that mark against India, seven years ago in Wellington.
Overall, Root is the third English batsman to score a double hundred at Chennai after Mike Gatting and Graeme Fowler. Overall, he is the fifth visiting batsman to achieve the feat at this ground, with Australians Dean Jones and Matthew Hayden the other two.
“It’s a bit frightening when you’re at the other end and he makes it look so easy,“ teammate Ben Stokes said after the day’s play. ”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.”
Root and Stokes added 124 runs for the fourth wicket and dominated the morning session.
Stokes scored his 23rd half-century and attacked the spinners. He was out caught in the deep post lunch in a bid to further up the ante against Shahbaz Nadeem (2-167).
“Today, initially, it was a typical subcontinent wicket,“ Stokes said, ”but Nadeem got a couple to kick out of the rough, and I said to myself, I’d rather get caught deep square taking the attack to him rather than get caught short leg being defensive.”
Stokes scored 82 runs off 118 deliveries with 10 fours and three sixes.
England’s batsmen frustrated Indian bowling throughout the day. There was little help from the pitch, even with the odd low bounce. However, through the last session, there was more spin extracted from the surface.
“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 (Sharma) and (Jasprit) Bumrah for the way they run in. We’ll need to do that as well,” Stokes said.
Bumrah finished day two with 2-81, while Sharma took 2-52. The latter took a brace off consecutive deliveries in the final session as England was pegged back.
Sharma made it a double blow when he bowled Jos Buttler (30) and Jofra Archer (0) off successive deliveries in the 170th over.
Jack Leach (6 not out) and Dom Bess (28 not out) then batted out the remaining session. Rohit Sharma dropped Bess on 19 not out, off Washington Sundar (0-98).
Ravichandran Ashwin finished the day with 2-132. India bowled 19 no balls so far in this innings.
On day one, Root became the ninth batsmen to score a hundred in his 100th test as England had reached 263-3 at stumps. Dominic Sibley scored 87.