Nottingham: India's fast bowlers made early inroads but England captain Joe Root hit a lovely counter-attacking half-century to take England's second innings score to 119 for 2 against India at lunch on the fourth day of the opening Test. England currently have erased the 95-run first innings deficit to enjoy a slender 24-run lead with bright sunshine baking the pitch and making stroke-play easier than the first three days.
Root , who hit nine boundaries, including some rasping drives through the cover, is batting on 56 off 74 balls while opener Dom Sibley (27 batting off 116 balls) survived anxious moments as he got a DRS decision overturned off Shardul Thakur's bowling.
Virat Kohli wanted quick breakthroughs to put pressure on the opposition and Mohammed Siraj (11-2-36-1) and Jasprit Bumraj (8-2-20-1) did just that in the first halfhour, removing Rory Burns (18 off 49 balls) and Zak Crawley (6 off 7 balls) respectively in quick succession.
The extra pace possessed by both did help them as Siraj got one to angle across Burns and the edge was a regulation catch for Rishabh Pant. Pant however had to dive to his right to pouch the thick outside edge that came from Crawley's bat when Bumrah's delivery straightened after pitching.
Both Burns and Crawley after their prolonged poor run for England will be doubtful starters in the second Test.
Two quick wickets could have put England under pressure but Root decided to take the aggressive route as he started with a streaky boundary with an open bat face past gully. The bowler was Bumrah.
In the very next over from Siraj, he crunched one through covers and the third boundary was a whip past mid-wicket followed by another cover drive. Mohammed Shami failed to find his rhythm during the morning session as he was taken apart by Root.
Courtesy Root, the duo quickly added 50 runs for the third wicket as England slowly covered the deficit.
Root did survive a leg-before appeal after a delivery from Jadeja skid through and found him on the backfoot. Although India reviewed the appeal, it was evident that the ball had not pitched in line of stumps and thus English captain had nothing to worry.
As if to punish Jadeja, he played a back-cut as England went past 100-run mark and a boundary past slip cordon got him his 51st fifty in Test match cricket.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)