Match Report:


Root reverses slump with ton to rally England

Joe Root turned recent form on its head and stabilised England's opening-day effort in Ranchi with a risk-free century

Joe Root defied an unpredictable pitch to make a timely return to form as a risk-free unbeaten century stabilised England on a seesawing first day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant early assistance for India's bowlers, Ben Stokes's dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England 5-112 at lunch on Friday after debutant Akash Deep's three-wicket haul.

But Root, averaging 12.83 through the first three matches, ended his lean patch with a battling 106 not out, which included a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, as England went to stumps on 7-302.

What was striking about Root's 31st Test hundred, raised off 219 balls, was its orthodoxy following criticism for some unconventional dismissals recently.

These included his reverse ramp in Rajkot last week, a sliding doors moment in England slipping 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Showing the virtue of patience here, Root has given England a fighting chance after Deep ensured the rested Jasprit Bumrah was not missed at first, exploiting the variable bounce that was a theme throughout the day, and some early movement.

Stokes had no hesitation in batting despite wariness of what he called an "interesting" pitch.

What followed was a helter-skelter opening session as England went at 4.63 an over and lost five wickets, while two of India's five reviews were successful.

Deep did not have long to wait for a maiden Test wicket, as a searching delivery nipped away and grazed Ben Duckett's outside edge on 11.

Akash Deep collected three wickets on his first day of Test cricket // AFP/Getty

Ollie Pope lasted two deliveries as India overturned a not out lbw verdict.

Zak Crawley departed for a run-a-ball 42 when Deep's in-ducker snaked through the gate and kissed the off bail, while Jonny Bairstow was lbw on review for 38 after missing a slog sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin.

The tourists' cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain throwing his head back and laughing ruefully as he began to trudge off before the umpire had raised his finger.

Ben Stokes walked after being hit in front by a delivery that kept low // AFP/Getty

A frenetic morning gave way to a sedate afternoon as Root and Foakes settled for steady accumulation.

Root went seamlessly to his first fifty in seven innings, after which Foakes accelerated by taking 18 off an Ashwin over, including a big blow over the leg-side for six.

Foakes fell three short of a fifty after tamely chipping to midwicket, ending a 113-run stand with Root, while Siraj had his second wicket by knocking back the off-stump of Tom Hartley for 13.

Root shared an unbroken 57 with Ollie Robinson (31 not out).