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James Wallace's risky decision to reverse scoop as a Root backfired, resulting in a tumble of England wickets.
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James Wallace’s risky decision to reverse scoop as a Root backfired, resulting in a tumble of England wickets.


The trouble began when Joe Root, a skilled English batsman, attempted a tricky shot against Jasprit Bumrah at the Niranjan Shah Cricket Stadium. This happened during the fifth over of the third day, with the sun shining down. Bleary-eyed fans who had eagerly set their alarms for Saturday morning were disappointed by Root’s early dismissal. It was still too early for breakfast, with the time being 4:22am in the UK and just before 10am locally. Despite his impressive batting abilities, Root’s impulsive reverse scoop ultimately led to his downfall.

You probably recognize the shot, and may have even chuckled with joy when Root executed it against the fast bowling of Naseem Shah or Neil Wagner. You may have been surprised and confused when he tried it against Pat Cummins in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston last summer, or cheered when he successfully pulled it off against Mitch Marsh and Scott Boland.

The shot has been Root’s signature stroke since he relinquished the captaincy and rejoined the ranks with a tiggerish spring in his step a few years ago. For all his velveteen drives, gimlet-eyed sweeps and Andrex-soft glides behind point, this is the shot that Root has relished playing the most over the past few years.

Yes, you guessed correctly, it resulted in his dismissal. The delivery from Bumrah was outside off stump and perfectly positioned for a shot of such bold and daring skill. Root prepared for the scoop early, showing off his unique style – much like a person beating a dusty doormat against a garden wall – but was unable to hit it high enough. Instead of flying over the slips, the ball went straight to Yashasvi Jaiswal in the field and he held onto a difficult catch.

Root expressed his disappointment by throwing his head back and leaving the field in frustration. The risk he took did not yield positive results this time. India took advantage of the shaky start and continued to take down English wickets. The visitors lost eight wickets for only 112 runs, giving up their strong position from the previous day and ending the day 322 runs behind. Ben Stokes and his team struggled in the hot weather of Rajkot and left the field at the end of the day with eight Indian wickets still to be taken before they can start their expected pursuit.

As England’s performance deteriorated, there was much discussion about Root’s choice of shots. The Guardian’s live coverage was reminiscent of a late night radio call-in show, with viewers expressing their opinions through comments and messages, either criticizing Root’s apparent lack of focus or oddly praising it.

Joe Root reacts after his dismissal

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The initial guideline of Bazball is likely to be not to discuss the sport and its risky nature, as Brendon McCullum even avoids saying its name. However, some may argue that this time, the critics were correct. With India missing a key bowler due to a family emergency, England had the opportunity to take control of the match and potentially surpass India’s score of 445 runs in the first innings. Root was feeling confident after hitting a four off Bumrah in the previous over, with Ben Duckett keeping up the pace at the other end. Bumrah still had a few overs left in his spell, so it would have been wise to play conservatively and save more aggressive shots for later in the day.

Despite their impressive ability to clear out bars and entertain with daring acts, Stokes’s team could potentially be criticized for not being ruthless enough. The dismissal of Root reminded me of a similar moment in last year’s Ashes series at Lord’s.

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Reworded: England had a great start with their batting and Pat Cummins was struggling for ideas after Nathan Lyon got injured. He then relied on a predictable plan of short balls. Unfortunately, England got too caught up in the moment and fell for the short balls, resulting in a 91-run deficit in the first innings. This ultimately led to their loss by 43 runs in a close Test match.

Without a doubt, the players from England and many of their fans do not share this perspective. When asked about Root’s dismissal at the end of the day, Duckett was clear: “In my opinion, it is equivalent to playing a drive and getting caught at second slip.”

Stokes’s Test team has gained a reputation for exciting cricket that leaves fans eagerly setting their alarms for early morning matches. Their performances never fail to entertain, making them well worth waking up for. However, this also means that unexpected and possibly chaotic moments may occur before you’ve even had a chance to start your day. If India continues to dominate and takes a 2-1 lead in the series, experienced players like Root and Stokes will surely recognize the pivotal moment when their game began to unravel. Whether they will reflect on and gain insight from this or not remains to be seen.

Source: theguardian.com