Joe Root added his name to the greats by scoring a memorable hundred in his 100 th Test to put England into the driving seat on day one in Chennai
Just as Colin Cowdrey and Alec Stewart managed to do for England to celebrate their own landmark, so to has Root in phenomenal style.
The skipper continued his breathtaking 2021 form with a third ton of the year in his third match to push the bar for him and his team just that little bit higher.
And with Dom Sibley dropping anchor at the other end, this was a day to savour for bleary eyed England fans who were greeted by Mambo No.5 and got on with their day after Century No.20.
By the time play drew to a close England had moved serenely to 263-3 with Root 128 not out and Sibley 87, cruelly falling lbw to Jasprit Bumrah in the final over of the day.
“I couldn’t have wished for things to have gone much better,” said Root. “It was a fabulous day and we’ve got to make it count and continue to do the hard work in this first innings.
“We’re really happy with the position we are in and I though Dom batted beautifully, it was a shame he fell at the end there, but he did a great job for the team.
“I’ve looked at some of the best players in the world and tried to take the bits that I think can help me and I’ve found a method that has worked for me over the last few games.”
Root got everything right from the moment he called heads at the toss and told Virat Kohli he would be making first use of a pitch that usually has plenty of runs in it.
He could enjoy the resumption of the Sibley and Rory Burns opening partnership as they added 63, the first stand of more than fifty from a visiting opening pair for four years.
But just when Burns looked like booking in for an epic knock of his own, his growing confidence got the better of him and an attempted reverse sweep against Ravi Ashwin brought about his downfall just 10 minutes before lunch.
Dan Lawrence was promoted to No.3 in the absence of the injured Zak Crawley and found out just how tough things can be as Bumrah trapped him plumb lbw for a duck.
It was Bumrah’s first Test wicket on Indian soil after playing his first 17 matches overseas and it was a beauty with the ball tailing into Lawrence at high pace with a hint of reverse swing.
England went from relaxed to frenetic and even Root took a needlessly risky single before the break that could have spelled disaster.
Instead, the break came at just the right time for England to reset and refocus, and from the second session onwards it became an exhibition.
Root continued to play the spin on offer as though he has been born within earshot of the Chepauk Stadium, using the sweep to great effect once more.
And with great trust in his defence, Sibley was just as commanding in the way he set about his work, scoring at a much slower rate, but doing the perfect job as Root’s foil.
Just before the close Root picked up a six from a slog sweep before collapsing in a heap with cramp.
It had been a day of hard work in energy-sapping heat, but Root’s skill and ability made sure both he and England got their rewards for it.
PLAYERS WHO SCORED 100 in their 100 th Test
- Colin Cowdrey: 104 v Australia, Birmingham 1968
- Javed Miandad: 145 v India, Lahore 1989
- Gordon Greenidge: 149 v England, Antigua 1990
- Alec Stewart: 105 v West Indies, Manchester 2000
- Inzamam-ul-Haq: 184 v India, Bangalore 2005
- Ricky Ponting: 120 & 143* v South Africa, Sydney 2006
- Graeme Smith: 131 v England, Oval 2012
- Hashim Amla: 134 v Sri Lanka, Johannesburg 2017
- Joe Root: 128* v India, Chennai 2021