England outfox India to start Test series on the front foot

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CHENNAI – Joe Root led England to an emphatic 227-run win over India in the opening Test on Tuesday, boosting their hopes of securing a rare series win against the hosts on their own patch.

Spinner Jack Leach claimed four wickets and paceman James Anderson three as India were dismissed for 192 on the final day while chasing a record 420 to win.

Victory was all the more impressive for England as it came just a month after India’s upset series triumph in Australia, where they handed the hosts their first defeat at Brisbane’s Gabba ground since 1988.

England captain Root outfoxed India, on a high after that win, with his bat and tactics.

He became the first batsman to score a double century in his 100th Test as his 218 guided England to 578 in the first innings.

He was also the top scorer with 40 in the second innings of 178.

India were never in the chase after Leach struck early with the wicket of overnight batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for 15 and Anderson also used his reverse swing on the wearing pitch.

Shubman Gill completed his third Test fifty in just his fourth game before Anderson took away his off-stump. Three balls later he cleaned up Ajinkya Rahane for nought.

Anderson got India’s first innings hero Pant for 11 and spinner Dom Bess chipped in with the wicket of Washington Sundar for nought as India slipped to 117-6.

India captain Virat Kohli fought a lone battle, reaching his 24th Test fifty before being bowled by Ben Stokes on a delivery that stayed low.

Leach and fast bowler Jofra Archer combined to run through the tail.

Root came into the Test on the back of match-winning scores of 228 and 186 against Sri Lanka last month.

India, who were bowled out for 337 in their first innings, faltered in the record chase after Leach sent back Rohit Sharma for 12 at the end of day four.

The second Test begins Saturday with spectators allowed at Chennai’s M.A.Chidambaram Stadium — a first for Indian cricket since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.