Joe Root’s England produced the perfect performance to take a 1-0 lead in India and secure their sixth successive away Test Match victory.
England completed victory in Chennai this morning by 227 runs as, defending a target of 420, they bowled the hosts out for just 192.
Three wins in South Africa last winter were followed by two in Sri Lanka last month before this win underpinned by captain Root’s landmark first-innings double century in his 100th Test appearance.
Root’s 218 set up a mammoth first-innings 578 before India were undone by significant contributions from spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach alongside the seam of Jimmy Anderson, whose fifth morning over to bowl Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane has had pundits and supporters purring.
”It has been a lot of hard work and willingness to learn and improve their game,” said Root of England’s excellent away form. “We’ve done it consistently, but the challenge is to come back and do it again next week.
“We’ve got young players who are having to learn on the job. Look at Dom Sibley, he has played fantastically well in difficult conditions.
“That’s the mindset of the changing room, and long may it continue.
“It’s important we don’t stand still now and keep looking to get better.”
Speaking to Channel 4, Root continued: “It has been a fantastic five days really. We executed the game plan brilliantly. We’ll enjoy this for sure, but we know there’s challenges to come.
“Sri Lanka gave us confidence, but we knew the challenges would be different. The surface was different, and we handled it well. It will be different again for the next game, and we’ve still got room for improvement, which is really exciting.
”It was a crucial toss, but from that moment onwards we needed to make the most of it – and we did that very well.
“We knew it would be a good wicket. The first partnership was crucial, and it was about making big contributions and partnerships being valuable. At different times, guys came in and made contributions. Thankfully it was me who made a big one.
“That is the way we are going to win out there.
“Someone is going to have to do that consistently – it might be someone else next week, but collectively we’ve got to do it.
“India are going to come back strong. They are a proud team with a strong record at home.”
Root’s fifth career double century was supplemented by five wickets in the match for Yorkshire team-mate Dom Bess.
The off-spinner claimed four wickets in the first innings, including Virat Kohli, before adding another wicket in the second.
But it was Anderson who took all the headlines in the second innings as he expertly utilised the reverse swing on offer to return figures of 3-17 from 11 overs.
Root added: ”He is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of English cricket.
“He finds ways of constantly challenging himself and getting better.
“At 38, to still be getting better and be as fit as ever is fantastic – he is a great role model. His skill level is as good as anyone you’ll ever see.”
Root equalled former county colleague Michael Vaughan’s record of 26 Test victories as captain of England.
He will look for number 27 in the second Test, also at Chennai, starting on Saturday.