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Watch: Joe Root’s 5-8, his first Test – and first-class – five-wicket haul

Joe-Root 5-8 v India, Ahmedabad 2020/21
by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Watch: Playing against India in Ahmedabad in 2020/21, Joe Root took 5-8 – his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

The Omicron wave of COVID-19 restricted England’s four-Test series in India to Chennai and Ahmedabad. In the Chennai leg, Root, led England – literally and otherwise – with 218 and 40 in his 100th Test, as India crashed to only their second defeat in a Test match on home soil in over eight years.

India hit back in the second Test match, riding on hundreds from Rohit Sharma and Ashwin. The latter also claimed 8-96 in the match, while debutant Axar Patel got 7-100. The teams then moved to the relaid venue in Ahmedabad. The third Test match of the series was also the second to be played under floodlights on Indian soil.


England struggled against the pink SG ball against Axar (6-38) and Ashwin (3-26). They were shot out for 112. India, 99-3 at stumps on the first day, looked set for a reasonable lead. However, Jack Leach (4-54) took out Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit quickly next morning.

Until this point, Root had taken 32 wickets in 101 Test matches. However, that had included 29-13-87-4 in Port Elizabeth a year ago. On that occasion, he had outbowled fellow off-spinner Dom Bess in the second innings as England had made South Africa follow on, and their fast bowlers needed to be rested. Before that, in 2018, he had routed Lancashire in a Roses match with figures of 7.4-5-5-4.

What followed, thus, might have been unexpected, but was certainly not outlandish. Root had Rishabh Pant caught behind off his first ball with one that spun viciously away from the left-hander. In his third over, he spun one through Washington Sundar’s defence (this, too, spun beautifully: Sundar had anticipated it to turn less) to hit the stumps, and had Axar caught at short extra cover. At this point his figures stood at 3-3-0-3.

Ashwin hit a boundary in Root’s next over, but Root had his revenge, having Ashwin caught slog-sweeping to deep square-leg. Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah hung on gamely until Root trapped the latter leg-before to finish with 5-8, his maiden – and till date, only – five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. These remain the best bowling figures by an England Test captain away from home.

Watch Joe Root’s 5-8 here:

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