Root hits double ton as England reach 555-8

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Chennai: Joe Root scored 218 to become the first player to hit a double century in his 100th Test as England stormed past 550 in the opening Test against India on Saturday.

The captain, who resumed on his overnight 128, hit a big six to pass 200 before departing in the final session in Chennai.

Indian bowlers came back with four wickets in the evening session to check England’s surge. The tourists ended the second day on 555 for eight. Dom Bess (28) and Jack Leach (6) were batting.

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.

His remarkable feat came after a quickfire 82 from Ben Stokes. The pair put on 124 for the fourth wicket on a pitch made for batting.

“Root’s in incredible form. To play like that in alien conditions is incredible,” Stokes said.

“It’s a bit frightening when you’re at the other end and he makes it look so easy,” he said of his captain.

Left-hander Stokes hit his 23rd Test half-century — with 10 fours and three sixes — before falling to Shahbaz Nadeem’s left-arm spin.

Root and Ollie Pope then got going to frustrate the Indian bowlers before Ravichandran Ashwin 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.

England and India will play four Tests in the series.

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