Skipper Joe Root scored his fifth double century — the first by a batsman playing his 100th Test — to lead England to 555 for eight wickets at stumps on the second day of the first Test against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.
Root (218, 19x4s, 2x6s), whose double ton was also the first by an overseas cricketer in India in over 10 years, was ably supported by Ben Stokes (82) as the two added 124 for the fourth wicket. At close, Dominic Bess was batting on 28 and Jack Leach was on six. The two tail-enders added an unbeaten 30 in 10.3 overs.
India picked four wickets in the last session, with pace bowler Ishant Sharma getting two wickets — Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer — off two balls, but Bess and Leach ensured that Virat Kohli’s boys will have to return on the third morning, something that Root wanted.
England did not lose a wicket in the first session as Root and Stokes added 92 in that session.
Stokes, who took guard at the start of the second day’s play after opener Dominic Sibley was dismissed in the last over of the first day, survived a couple of chances.
Off-spinner R Ashwin dropped a tough chance off his own bowling and Cheteshwar Pujara dropped him at mid-wicket off the bowling of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.
India also wasted a chance early in the day to run out Root too as Washington Sundar’s throw was wide off the wicket-keeper.
Root built on his overnight unbeaten 128 to rack up his fifth double century and third 150-plus score in succession following his 228 and 186 in Sri Lanka. While he added 28 to his overnight score in the first session with patience, it was Stokes who took on the Indian attack. Stokes was eventually caught by Pujara off Nadeem at deep square-leg as he went for a big shot.
Root batted to get to his double and was also dismissed by Nadeem in the third session. Buttler (30) and Archer followed on successive balls but that was the only success for India as Bess and Leach held out.
The England skipper had on Thursday pointed out that his side would look to bat till the third day’s morning and score 600-700 runs.
Brief scores: England 555/8 wkts in 180 overs (J Root 218, D Sibley 87, B Stokes 82, O Pope 34, I Sharma 2/52, J Bumrah 2/81, R Ashwin 1/132, S Nadeem 2/167)