Moeen century redeems England after torrid start


Moeen Ali helped dig England out of a hole after a poor start to the first day of the fifth Test against India in Chennai with an excellent hundred.

England went into the final match of the series trailing 3-0 and it looked like they would be in for more trouble with the losses of opening duo Alastair Cook (10) and Keaton Jennings (1) early on.

But Moeen dug his heels in and scored his fourth Test century of 2016 - a feat no other batsman has bettered and only India captain Virat Kohli has matched - with a brilliant 120 not out.

Joe Root (88) provided strong support to the all-rounder, but was left frustrated when he was dismissed upon review, with UltraEdge showing a spike as the ball passed the bat.

Ravindra Jadeja (3-75) was the man to break Moeen and Root's impressive 146-run stand, with England batting through to reach 284-4 at stumps.

It was Ishant Sharma (1-25) who claimed the match's opening scalp, though, drawing a thick edge from Jennings before Jadeja dismissed Cook, who still managed to surpass 11,000 Test runs with his tally, for the fifth time in the series, Kohli taking the England captain at slip.

Moeen was fortunate to avoid going for a duck when a flick towards midwicket was not caught by KL Rahul and that perhaps pushed him into a more conservative approach.

While Root clicked into gear and racked up six boundaries en route to his half-century, Moeen was happy to rotate the strike and bide his time, building his confidence steadily.

However, their partnership ended in controversial circumstances with an irritated Root leaving the field shaking his head and kicking the turf as he lost the chance to reach triple figures for the second time on the tour.

An explosive 49-run knock from Jonny Bairstow that included a trio of sixes saw England kick on in the final session, but Rahul atoned for letting Moeen off the hook by catching the Yorkshireman at cover.

A fine cover drive off Amit Mishra (0-52) took Moeen to 99 and he brought up his century after stealing a single with a knock towards point, removing his helmet to bask in the applause from the stands.

Moeen did not relent, moving beyond the 1000-runs barrier in Tests before adding three fours off two Sharma overs.

Ben Stokes (5 not out) and Moeen will have the task of keeping a motivated India at bay and building on a strong first day when play resumes on Saturday.