Chennai, Feb 6 (IANS) England’s past successes over India in India have come with the aid of sweep shots and they used the same stroke to grind the Indian slow bowlers on a flat, batting-friendly MA Chidambaram wicket here on Saturday.
Skipper Joe Root got to his fifth double century, becoming the first player to get to the figure in his 100th Test. On Friday, he had waited for 50 balls before employing the sweep which he had used quite successfully during the tour of Sri Lanka. But once in and settled, he used it to great effect trying to spoil the line and length of India bowlers.
Ben Stokes joined in and swept quite a few balls to the boundary as the Indian bowlers struggled.
Former India wicket-keeper Kiran More tweeted on Saturday, “Saw #GrahamGooch sweeping @RaviShastriOfc and #ManinderSingh during the 1987 @cricketworldcup semi-final. Then @KP24 used reverse sweep quite effectively in 2012 to set up Test series win, now @root66 and @benstokes38 doing similarly to negate spinners #IndvEng #cricket.”
The current India coach Ravi Shastri, a former left-arm spinner, was part of the 1987 World Cup semi-final against England as Graham Gooch scored 115 and Mike Gatting hit 56 and used the sweep to good effect. England made 254 for six and won the match by 35 runs to enter the final.
More was part of India’s 1987 World Cup team and had a good view from behind the stumps.
Then in the 2012-13 tour, both Alastair Cook (562) and Kevin Pietersen (338) scored heavily in the four-Test series to help England clinch the series 2-1. Both used the sweep to good effect.
Root had, on the eve of the first Test, said that he learnt playing the sweep as a youngster because he wasn’t physically very strong.
“For me as a young lad, I was very small. It took me a long time to grow and develop physically. So I had to find a way of getting the ball off the square against the spinners in particular. There wasn’t any pace to work with. And the sweep shot was the one shot that I could actually generate the most power with. So learning to play that very well was pretty much the only scoring option for my junior career,” explained the England captain ahead of his 100th Test.