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Red-hot Root looking to extend batting form to India

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) England skipper Joe Root’s ability to rack up big scores like he did in Sri Lanka in the just-concluded Test series will be key for England to put up a fight against India in the four-Test series starting next month. He scored 426 in two Tests in Sri Lanka at 106.50, with two centuries — 228 in first Test and 186 in second Test.

England and India play two Tests in Chennai, beginning on February 5, and the last two in Ahmedabad.

Root was the second highest run-getter behind Virat Kohli the last time England toured India, in 2016-17. His 491 runs in five Tests at 49.1 was behind Kohli’s 655.

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Root is already looking forward to the Tests against India.

“We will look at this as a platform. We have got four very important games against arguably the best team [India] in the world in their own conditions. We are going to have to play right at the top of our game. We couldn’t be any better-placed than this to challenge them. That really excites me,” he said on Monday, after beating Sri Lanka 2-0 in the two-Test series.

Despite England’s premier batsman’s good run last time they toured India, his team lost the five-match series to India 0-4 and could cross 500-run total only once. That score of 500-plus came in the first Test in Rajkot, where Root scored his only century of the series — his 124 helping England post 537 from where they could dominate India.

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Unfortunately for England, that was the only time in the series they dominated India and as Root failed to produce another three-figure knock, and England failed to put up a big score.

Root went on to score four half-centuries, but couldn’t play a big knock that would allow the other batsmen to play around him.

The 124 in his very first innings in India during that series was followed by scores of 4, 53, 25, 15, 78, 21, 77, 88, and 6.

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With the then skipper Alastair Cook failing to score big, it was imperative on Root to convert his fifties into big three-figure knocks at No.4.

This time though 30-year-old Root seems to have come with a plan to hold the innings together, as evident from his 400-plus tally against Sri Lanka. His excellent run somewhat papered over the poor performance of the other batsmen. England could produce only three half-centuries besides Root’s two big centuries.

While Root topped the run charts in the just-concluded series, the next three top-scorers were Sri Lankans.

Root’s overall performance in India is quite good. In six Tests in this country, he has aggregated 584 runs at an average of 53.09.

–IANS

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