The pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, which was prepared tremendously by the ground staff with using burning coals to dry the surface, benefited India to the fullest on the first day of the fifth Test as England were restricted for 284/4 at stumps on Friday.
Orthodox spinner Ravindra Jadeja (3/73) dominated the most at the dry wicket, claiming three big wickets. Indian spearhead Ishant Sharma too chipped in with the dismissal of newcomer Keaton Jennings (1). No other Indian managed to claim a single wicket despite tight and aggressive bowling line-up.
However, all-rounder Moeen Ali emerged as the knight in the shining armour for the wounded England side as he scored unbeaten 120 runs off 222 balls. Earlier in the first Test at Rajkot, Ali had smashed an impressive 117-run knock.
Ali, along with Joe Root (88), put on 146 runs for the third-wicket partnership to ignite some hopes for England after early dismissals. Following Root’s dismissal, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow also came up responsibly to score causative 49 runs.
England faltered in the beginning as they lost both their openers in first 13 overs.
Despite crossing the 11,000 Test runs mark in the record fastest time (10 years and 290 days), England skipper Alastair Cook couldn’t do much wonders with willow as Jadeja dismissed him cheaply for 10 runs.
With the current batsmen, Ali (120*) and Ben Stokes (5*), England will look to rotate the strike aggressively on the second day (Saturday), while the Indian bowlers will look to wrap them up early.