Magnificent Root savours 'special' century in 100th Test

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

Joe Root savoured a "very special" opening day of the series against India as the in-form England captain marked his 100th Test with a sublime unbeaten century in Chennai.

Root has made a dream start to 2021, scoring a double century in the first Test against Sri Lanka and crafting a hundred in the second match as the tourists sealed a 2-0 whitewash in Galle last month.

The England skipper continued his purple patch at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, becoming only the ninth player to reach three figures in his 100th Test.

Root was unbeaten on 128 at stumps and although Dom Sibley was dismissed in the final over of the day to end a stand of 200, England are in a strong position on 263-3.

The skipper was understandably emotional on a landmark day and was grateful for some kind words from his team-mates, particularly his deputy Ben Stokes.

He said: "It's very special. Last night the guys put a little surprise together for me – some videos from some past players, and friends and family. And Ben, in particular, stood up and said some really kind words.

"What he said should stay between the two of us and the group, but Ben's a fine human being and it was really nice of him to go out of his way to say some very special things that I will hold dear forever."

"The guys have made it very special for me and I really appreciate it. It's been an amazing two days. I was a little bit emotional [at the toss]," Root added. "I couldn't even remember our team when they asked me about it.

"I was a little bit all over the place, but thankfully when I got out there, I knew it was business as normal and I had a job to do.

"For us to start this series in the way that we have, it couldn't have gone any better, bar a little blip at the end there. So, I really hope that we can build on that tomorrow and I'm obviously delighted with how things have gone personally."

Root stressed the importance of England capitalising on such a promising start.

"We've got to look to try and get as many as we can – 600, 700 if we can, really try and make the most of the first innings while it's good," he said.

"Those foot holes are starting to wear quite quickly. So, if we can bat the whole of tomorrow and maybe into day three, then things could speed up quite quickly for us and you never know what can happen from that point onwards."

Root was full of praise for opener Sibley, who faced 286 balls in a great knock and looked untroubled until he was trapped leg before by Jasprit Bumrah (2-40)

The Yorkshireman said: "That was a fantastic innings today. To come out with maybe a few question marks in his own mind about his game against spin, for him to go and put a performance early on in this series like that, against a high quality attack delivering reverse swing as well, was really impressive.

"He should take a lot of heart and confidence from that into the rest of the series. I really did feel for him – he deserved a hundred – but that's what happens when you play against good players.

"They can take wickets later on in the day and the challenge will be to try and better that partnership that we got together, try and better that tomorrow."

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