Root double ton powers England to 454/4 at tea

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Chennai, Feb 6 (PTI) Skipper Joe Root carved out a brilliant double century in his 100th Test and helped England reach a dominant 454 for four at tea on the second day of the first Test against India here on Saturday.

Resuming at his lunch score of 156, Root continued to bat in a serene manner, gathering runs with ease and reached his double hundred with a six off Ravichandran Ashwin.

At the tea break, he was batting on 209 (19 fours and 2 sixes) after put England in commanding position with a superb display of batsmanship. He was also helped, to a large extent, by Ben Stokes' fine 82.

England added 99 runs in the session between lunch and tea and lost one wicket.

The captain's 124-run partnership for the fourth wicket wih Stokes (82; 10 fours, 3 sixes) meant England continued their dominance.

Ollie Pope (batting on 24), who came in at the fall of Stokes' wicket, overcame an early period of uncertainty to stitch together a half-century stand with Root.

Stokes fell when in sight of a ton, holing out after going for a slog sweep to give Shahbaz Nadeem his first wicket, some reward for his toil as Cheteshwar Pujara took a catch in the deep after an awkward juggle.

For India, the experienced trio of Ishant Sharma (0/42), Jasprit Bumrah (2/66) and Ashwin (1/114 from 41 overs) stuck to their task but could not find any success.

Nadeem (1/140), though he broke the Root-Stokes partnership, and Washington Sundar (0/65) could not make any impact and proved to be expensive.

In the first session, Stokes played some powerful strokes, employing the sweep shot against the spinners, and reached his 50 off 73 balls with a reverse sweep off Nadeem.

As many as 92 runs came in the pre-lunch session as Stokes went about playing aggressively while Root appeared content to play the second fiddle and moved past 150 without looking in any sort of trouble.

Root had hit a double ton in Sri Lanka in the recent series and followed it up with another big century.

England had added 40 runs in the opening hour and increased the scoring rate as Stokes went on the offensive.

In between, Ashwin put down a caught and bowled chance and Pujara could not hold on to a tough catch when Stokes hammered one on the leg-side.

Stokes, always on the look out for runs, smashed Ashwin for a big six over mid-off.

Earlier in the day, Bumrah almost got Stokes with a brilliant yorker, which the southpaw somehow managed to keep out.

The hard-working Bumrah came up with a searing yorker closer to lunch but Root was able to bring his bat down in time. PTI SS AH AH