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England lose Root early, reach 74-3 at lunch in final India Test

04 March 2021, MVT 21:06
England's captain Joe Root (R)and his teammate Jonny Bairstow take a drink break during the first day of the fourth Test cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on March 4, 2021. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP) /
04 March 2021, MVT 21:06

India's bowlers claimed key wickets, including captain Joe Root, as England reached 74 for three at lunch on the first day of the fourth Test of a spin-dominated series on Thursday.

Spinner Axar Patel removed both openers, while returning fast bowler Mohammed Siraj sent back Root lbw for five after England chose to bat at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

Jonny Bairstow, on 28, and Ben Stokes, on 24, were not out at the interval after England won a crucial toss in their bid to bounce back from two successive defeats and level the four-match series which India lead 2-1.

Spin was introduced in the sixth over and left-armer Patel struck with his second ball as Dom Sibley was bowled for two.

Patel in his next over then induced Zak Crawley, on nine, to miscue tamely into the hands of Siraj at mid-off.

Bairstow, who failed to score in either innings of the third Test which lasted only two days, took 12 balls to get off the mark with a tentative push for a boundary off fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

He tried to steady the innings along with his captain till Siraj broke through after the first drinks interval to trap Root on the back foot with an inswinging delivery to leave England in trouble at 30-3.

Siraj and Stokes were involved in a verbal duel, joined by India captain Virat Kohli, until the umpires intervened. Stokes hit back with three boundaries off the quick bowler.

England have left out fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad with off-spinner Dom Bess and batsman Dan Lawrence back in the team

Ahmedabad, India | AFP

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