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Hope to end the tour on a high, says Joe Root

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Chennai: In what is a classic example of misery not loving company, Joe Root’s pain of missing out on a 12th Test century by 12 runs was alleviated to a large extent by Moeen Ali’s unbeaten 120 that saw England end the first day at a healthy 284 for four against India in the fifth Test here on Friday.

Root was not convinced that it was his attacking instincts that undermined his bid for a shot at glory and remained firm in his conviction that the ball had made no contact with his bat.

“I was convinced beyond doubt that I didn’t hit the ball as I could hear no noise but the technology thought otherwise. I don’t find fault with the shot selection and you just have to take it on the chin. I was a little frustrated at getting out in that fashion and it was more disbelief (at the decision being overturned) than anything else,” explained Root.

While being economical with words, Root chose to be more liberal in his praise of the centurion Ali, who swelled his tally of centuries to two in this series. “I thought Moeen played brilliantly. He has taken on the added responsibility of batting higher up the order and backed it up with good showing. We are hoping that he will carry on in the same vein and help us get closer to 500 which will be a good score on this pitch,” said the 25-year-old.

Another beneficiary of his eloquence in appreciation was the wicket-keeper and his county team-mate at Yorkshire, Jonny Bairstow, who has exhibited the same gargantuan appetite for runs as Root in this calendar year.

“Jonny has proved that he can bat at different positions with the same success and his wicket-keeping has also improved by leaps and bounds. And its nice to see that he has progressed well in both these facets,” added the England vice-captain.

Root was blithely indifferent to any suggestions of him being the captain-in-waiting and chose to bat it out of the equation. “There is plenty of stuff apart from that (captaincy) that we need to focus on at the moment. It would be nice to go home with a win under our belt,” said the man who doesn’t seem to be acting in any tearing hurry to get the prefix ‘captain’ attached to his name.

Root gave glimpses of insights into his meticulous preparation ahead of a Test when he had to make do with practising on the tarmac (road) inside the precincts of the stadium. “My feet were all over the place in Mumbai against the seamers. I wanted to iron a few things out. We tried the tennis courts behind the stadium road (belonging to the Madras Cricket Club) and wanted to avoid the cameras in case it went pear-shaped. We used my gloves as stumps and I was padded up with bat.

Obviously the nets weren’t ready and it was the only surface we could find. It was nice to have that peace of mind going into today, just being able to not worry about any technical issues,” signed off Root.

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