‘It briefly crossed my mind’: Joe Root on getting his hundred with reverse-scoop in Ranchi Test

As the Ranchi Test continues amid engrossing cricket actions, England’s tactical brilliance shone through on the second day, pushing India towards a corner in the fourth Test of the series. With India left trailing by 134 runs and their batting line-up flailing with seven wickets down in the first innings, England stands poised to potentially even out the test series stakes.

The host venue’s pitch, a topic of great debate since the first day, continued its decline, playing host to an enthralling display of ten wickets as the surface cracked under pressure. Yet, amidst the unfavorable conditions, Joe Root, with his enduring savoir-faire, etched a monumental 31st Test century, his unbeaten 122 off 274 balls proving to be an innings of both defiance and beauty.

This series has seen Root wrestle with adversity in regard to his form, but his innings in Ranchi quashed any remnants of doubt and silenced critical voices that had begun to challenge his batting methodology within England’s aggressive ‘bazball’ approach. It was not too long ago that his reverse-scoop shot in the first innings at Rajkot sparked a cascade of skepticism, headed by pundits and the public alike, despite Root’s seemingly masterful grip on the stroke over the last two years.

In stark contrast to the flamboyant techniques often associated with the modern game, Root adapted to the Ranchi pitch with a traditional batting strategy that yielded results. Reflecting on the day’s play and England’s whirlwind progress in the game, Root confessed to media that the audacious thought of reaching his century with another reverse-scoop six did cross his mind. However, he recognized the impracticality of such a stroke given the low-lying trajectory of the pitch – expressing his overarching commitment to scoring vital runs for the team.

“We had a good couple of days,” Root commented, elaborating on his approach to the game that is deeply rooted in adaptability, playing per the demands of both the situation and the condition of the pitch. He anticipates further degradation of the surface as the test progresses, which may add another layer of drama to an already gripping encounter.

Looking beyond Root’s individual accomplishments, Day 2 of the Ranchi Test heralded the emergence of the young English spinning duo, Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley, who spun their way through India’s batting order with a spell-binding performance. Root, who is no longer captain but has a rich experience of leading the side, spoke highly of the promising bowlers. He recalled leveraging Ben Stokes’s bowling expertise in his captaincy tenure and conveyed a belief that Stokes would reciprocate that trust. He expressed admiration for the character and humor of Bashir who has been a relatively fresh face in the series, and lauded Hartley for his contribution.

While England may have dominated the narrative with their cricketing prowess on Day 2, the series itself has been prolific with moments that reached beyond the field. Spectators have turned to inventive ways to celebrate and humorously engage with the sport, such as the viral poster of a fan asserting to only embark on studies once the veteran Anderson decides to retire, eliciting a reaction from none other than Ravi Shastri.

Amid these amusing sidelines, Yashasvi Jaiswal earned a nod of recognition by achieving a significant milestone once achieved by esteemed cricketers like Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid. This test series has, thus, become more than a competition; it has evolved into a canvas reflecting the game’s nuanced history and its evolving future.

With the match delicately balanced and the pitch promising more turns and twists, both literally and figuratively, the attention remains raptly fixed on Ranchi where history and legacy will continue to intertwine over the days to come. England, now in a sizeable position of strength, looks forward to capitalizing on their Day 2 performance, while India would aim to muster resilience to mount a formidable reply. The game of cricket, in all its unpredictability and glory, marches on, a testament to the sport’s enduring allure.

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