Root holds fort after England lose openers

Joe Root (AFP)
Joe Root (AFP)

Chennai - Batsman Joe Root steadied England after the visitors lost their openers early in the fifth and final Test against India in Chennai on Friday.

England, who have already lost the series 3-0, were 68 for two at lunch after electing to bat first. Root (44) and Moeen Ali (seven) were at the crease.

Ishant Sharma, back in action after recovering from an illness, struck first for the hosts on a moisture-laden pitch following a cyclone earlier in the week.

The lanky fast bowler got Keaton Jennings, who impressed on debut with a century at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, caught behind for one.

Indian quicks Sharma and Umesh Yadav worked up good pace at Chennai's MA Chridambaram Stadium track, which was dried using burning coals after Cyclone Vardah hit on Monday.

England's all-time leading run-scorer Alastair Cook got past the 11,000-run mark on the first ball of the match, but he quickly fell to Ravindra Jadeja's for 10.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja got captain Cook for the fifth time in the series after the left-handed opener was caught at slip by his opposite number Virat Kohli.

Root, who is the second-highest run-getter in the series behind Kohli (640), then got to work as he put on an unbeaten 47 runs for the third wicket with Ali.

Root, who has hit five boundaries in his otherwise patient knock, closed on his fourth half-century of the series together with his century in the first Test in Rajkot.

The Indian players wore black arm bands as a mark of respect for the popular Tamil Nadu state chief minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, who passed away last week.

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