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England's strong start will boost confidence, says Root

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Cricket - India v England - First Test cricket match - Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, India - 9/11/16. England's Joe Root celebrates after scoring his century. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Cricket - India v England - First Test cricket match - Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, India - 9/11/16. England's Joe Root celebrates after scoring his century. REUTERS/Amit Dave

By Sudipto Ganguly

RAJKOT, India (Reuters) - England are still smarting from their first ever test defeat by Bangladesh last month but Joe Root believes the side can draw confidence from their strong start with the bat in the five-match series against India on Wednesday.

Root led the way for England with a sparkling century and with Moeen Ali, unbeaten on 99, helped them finish the opening day of the first test on 311 for four after opting to bat first.

"It was good to take advantage of what was a pretty good pitch today and might change over the course of five days," Root told reporters after compiling his 11th test hundred. "It was important to start well.

"It's something that going forward will give us a lot of confidence and hopefully will give the rest of the guys around us confidence as well.

"We were pretty comfortable against the spinners and that should be a really good thing for us going forward."

England's two-test series in Bangladesh was meant to be a dress rehearsal for their batsmen who are likely to be subjected to relentless spin on similarly turning tracks in India.

Instead, Alastair Cook and his men arrived with bruised egos, having suffered defeat in the second test in Dhaka inside three days after losing 10 wickets in a session against the world's ninth-ranked test team.

"I just tried to work on my defence and make sure that was as solid as it could be," the 25-year-old Root said of his third test hundred against India, who are ranked world number one.

"More than anything (I tried to) not change my approach but just being better at it and I practised really hard in Mumbai and on the first couple of days leading up to this game.

"I did the hard yards and was confident to go out and play my natural game. It was really pleasing to see all my hard work coming good today."

The right-hander said his 179-run stand with Moeen did not allow the Indian spinners to settle into a rhythm and his side will bat for as long as possible on Thursday.

"If we can get to 500, that will be fantastic. This wicket will deteriorate quickly," Root added. "Having spent some time (batting) I have seen cracks on the wicket and already some variable bounce.

"It will be really important to make a big score tomorrow and take advantage of a good start today."

(Editing by Ken Ferris)


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