Root leads England fightback in fourth Test

Indian debutant Akash Deep took three wickets to put the tourists in early trouble

England’s Joe Root plays a shot during the first day of the fourth Test cricket match against India at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium in Ranchi on February 23, 2024. (Photo by TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

JOE ROOT hit an unbeaten 67 to rebuild the England innings after Indian debutant Akash Deep took three wickets to put the tourists in early trouble in the fourth Test on Friday (23).

England, who are fighting to stay alive in the five-match series at 2-1 down, battled to 198-5 at tea after electing to bat first in Ranchi.

Former skipper Root and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes, on 28, put on an unbeaten stand of 86 to thwart the Indian attack in the second session.

Root raised his first fifty of the series after managing just 77 runs over the previous six innings and receiving criticism for throwing away his wicket off a reverse scoop in the losing third match.

Root and Foakes kept calm in an uncharacteristically patient show of batting by England that was a temporary departure from their attacking “Bazball” style.

The 27-year-old Deep replaced Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested, and had a scintillating start after being awarded his first Test cap by coach Rahul Dravid.

Deep thought he had got opener Zak Crawley on four only to overstep the crease for a no-ball.

Crawley, who went on to make 42, counter-attacked and hammered Mohammed Siraj for four straight boundaries, including three fours and a six.

Deep got his first international wicket when Ben Duckett was caught behind for 11.

He struck again two balls later to trap Ollie Pope lbw for duck, a decision denied by the on-field umpire but successfully reviewed by India after the tracker showed the ball would have hit the top of leg stump.

Deep then bowled Crawley on another beauty that darted into the opener and rattled the stumps, as England slipped to 57-3 in only the first hour of play.

Root and Jonny Bairstow put together 52 runs before Ravichandran Ashwin had Bairstow lbw on 38 in another successful Indian review.

Skipper Ben Stokes was trapped lbw by Ravindra Jadeja at the stroke of lunch for three to leave England in serious trouble.