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Joe Root's emphatic response to 'Bazball' swipes amid 'hideous' Ben Stokes furore

Root's century was all the more remarkable after an incident that stunned Ben Stokes.

Pictured left to right, England batters Joe Root and Ben Stokes.
Joe Root's superb century for England came after captain Ben Stokes copped an eye-opening LBW dismissal on day one against India in the fourth Test. Pic: Getty/X

England batter Joe Root has snapped a two-year drought after returning to form in stunning style by smacking an unbeaten century against India on day one of the fourth Test in Ranchi. Root has come under fire for some of his recent shot selection but put 'Bazball' aside in a measured knock of 106 not out to get England to stumps at 7-302 after captain Ben Stokes fell victim to the unpredictable pitch.

Stokes said before the match that he'd never seen a pitch like the one in Ranchi, with the cracked surface offering significant assistance to the bowlers. The England captain copped the worst of it after being dismissed LBW by a Ravindra Jadeja grubber that bounced and hit him on the pads, barely above the foot.

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The wicket left England reeling at 5-112 at lunch and looking in dire straights in a Test they need to win to level the five-match series at 2-2. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan was among those to slam the diabolical nature of the day one wicket after Stokes' dismissal, with his description of the pitch as a "shocker" echoed by fans across social media.

Vaughan cheekily changed his tune about the pitch after the first day's play after Root's heroics suggested the Stokes delivery was merely an anomaly. Root had been crucified by fans and former England greats including Vaughan for getting out playing outlandish scoops and reverse sweeps earlier in the series, with England's best batter failing to adapt to the 'Bazball' style of aggressive batting.

On day one in Ranchi though, Root put those unorthodox shots away and reverted to the style of batting that's seen him amass more than 11,000 runs across his Test career. Root's 31st Test hundred was based around patience and determination - not flashy shot-making - and came off 219 balls, which is the slowest century of the 'Bazball' era. Vaughan wrote for the UK Telegraph that "common sense" batting had prevailed over 'Bazball' in Root's knock.

Root had gone six innings without a Test half century before his knock on day one - the leanest period of batting for the 33-year-old in two years. He went into the opening day averaging just 12.83 across the first three matches, but made the most of India's decision to rest Jasprit Bumrah by forgetting about 'Bazball' and returning to form just when England needed him most.

India quick Akash Deep takes three wickets in Test debut

Bumrah was rested by India despite being the leading wicket-taker in the series, with debutant Akash Deep taking a stunning three-wicket haul as his replacement. Deep's superb display came amid a wild opening session for England that saw the visitors score at 4.63 an over but lose five wickets in the process - with two of India's five reviews successful.

Deep picked up his maiden Test wicket after catching Ben Duckett's outside edge for 11. Ollie Pope then lasted just two deliveries as India overturned a not out lbw verdict. Zak Crawley departed for a run-a-ball 42 when Deep's in-swinger slipped through the gate and kissed the top of off-stump bail, while Jonny Bairstow was lbw on review for 38 after missing a slog sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin.

Seen here, India quick Akash Deep.
Akash Deep took three wickets on Test debut for India against England. Pic: Getty

It got worse for England on the stroke of lunch when Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja. That wicket set it up for Root to save the day for England by playing the anchor role perfectly as he shared in a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes to swing the contest back in England's favour.

Root seamlessly brought up 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, while Mohammed Siraj had his second wicket by knocking back the off-stump of Tom Hartley for 13. Root and Ollie Robinson (31 not out) will resume at the crease for England on day two after sharing in an unbroken 57-run stand.

with agencies

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