Joe Root continued his relentless accumulation of runs in 2021, helping himself to his second double century of the year to give England control of the first Test against India.
Root had already marked his 100th cap in style by reaching three figures on day one in Chennai and made good on his promise not the settle for that, turning his overnight score of 128 into the fifth double of his career – brought up in style with a handsome blow for six down the ground.
He was eventually undone for 218, helping the tourists to a formidable total of 555 for eight at stumps and lifting his average since he turned 30 in December to 128.80.
Just Joe from Yorkshire living his dream ❤️
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 6, 2021
The England skipper occupied the crease for almost nine hours over the past two days, with Ben Stokes offering highly entertaining support as he struck 82.
England’s top Test run-scorers
Joe Root started 2021 in eighth position and now sits third, having motored up the standings.
Playing to the crowd
🏏 The first day of live coverage of India v England on @Channel4 attracted a peak audience of 1.1m (18.4% share) and 96k of 16-34 year olds. Just under a million people watched Joe Root reach 100 runs 👏🏻 #CricketOn4
— Channel 4 Press (@C4Press) February 6, 2021
The return of Test cricket on free-to-air terrestrial cricket for the first time since in 16 years has been a clear success for Channel 4. Almost one million viewers tuned in live to see Root mark his 100th Test appearance with a ton, with peak figures climbing by another 10 per cent in the aftermath.
Although well short of the 2005 highs, which topped 8.4million, it is well beyond what would usually be expected on a subscription service and a highly competitive number given play started at the unsociable hour of 4am. With the day-night Test in Ahmedabad taking place during office hours, an even bigger draw awaits.
Why nobody was talking about the declaration
In most situations, England handsome position at lunch and then tea would have led to discussions around the appropriate time to declare. But the idea of getting the hosts in for the classic ’10 awkward overs’ before stumps never really materialised.
To understand why, one only needs to rewind to 2016, when Sir Alastair Cook’s side posted 477 batting first at the same ground and went on to lose by an innings after Karun Nair scored a triple century in response.