Ali and Root reboot England against India
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Moeen Ali and Joe Root saved England's blushes on Friday's opening day of the fifth Test against India in Chennai. With the hosts having claimed the series following the fourth Test's innings and 36-run annihilation in Mumbia, the tourists are playing for pride.
However, that state looked alarmingly absent as openers Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook were both back in the pavilion with only 21 on the board.
Ali survived a lacklustre start to solder his side together with Root. The latter eventually fell for 88 while the former ended the day on 120.
"It would be really nice to go home with a win under our belt and we have set it up nicely. It's now about going on during the second and taking it forward," Root told reporters at the end of the first day. "And hopefully Moeen can carry on."
Ali, who was promoted to number four following a rejig in England's batting order in the Mohali Test, absorbed the pressure after Root's dismissal to pilot the innings.
"That added responsibility of batting higher up in the order he has taken really well on this tour and proved it with two brilliant hundreds," said Root.
Ishant Sharma, who was back in action after an illness, struck first for the hosts by claiming the wicket of Jennings, who had just a single to his name.
Skipper Cook fell to Ravindra Jadeja. The left-arm spinner claimed the captain's scalp for the fifth time in the series. Cook, who had made 10, had at least passed the landmark of 11,000 Test runs during his short stay at the crease.
Jadeja also accounted for Root and Jonny Bairstow, ending the day with figures of 3 for 73 off 28 overs.