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Root revels in England return to form

AFP
England's Joe Root (2nd R) celebrates taking the wicket of India's Shikhar Dhawan on the fourth day of the third cricket Test match between England and India at The Aegeas Bowl cricket ground in Southampton on July 30, 2014
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England's Joe Root (2nd R) celebrates taking the wicket of India's Shikhar Dhawan on the fourth day of the third cricket Test match between England and India at The Aegeas Bowl cricket ground in Southampton on July 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Olly Greenwood)

Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Joe Root said England had enjoyed close to a perfect day after starring with both bat and ball in the third Test against India at Southampton on Wednesday.

First Root made a rapid 56, which with England captain Alastair Cook's 70 not out formed the cornerstone of a second innings score of 205 for four declared.

That enabled Cook to set India, who won the second Test at Lord's by 95 runs, a huge target of 445 to go 2-0 up in this five-match series.

But at stumps India were 112 for four after Moeen Ali (two) and Root (one), both regarded as 'part-time' off-spinners, had taken three wickets between them.

"As days of cricket go, that is one you want to have," Root said.

"A lot of credit has to go to Cooky the way he set up the game with the bat, the pace and way he judged his innings was down to a T," said Root following the skipper's second fifty of the match after Cook made 95 in England's first innings 569 for seven declared.

Cook has faced calls from several former England skippers to resign the captaincy after presiding over a run of 10 Tests without a win that has coincided with a run of low scores for the left-handed opener.

However, Root said: "He may not get a lot of credit from a lot of people but we know in our dressing room how big an innings that was for us."

- 'Grumpy' Anderson -

An all but ideal day for England bowler James Anderson, who finished with five for 53 on his 32nd birthday after taking the final two wickets in India's first innings 330, risked being spoilt after play ended.

He appeared to have words with not out India batsman Ajinkya Rahane before Australian umpire Rod Tucker intervened in a bid to calm tempers.

Anderson is already facing disciplinary action by the International Cricket Council following his bust-up with India's Ravindra Jadeja during the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge that could yet see him banned from the rest of this series.

"I was not aware of it, I’m sure it was nothing," said Root when asked about Anderson's exchange with Rahane.

Root said aggression was a central feature of Anderson's make-up as the leader of England's attack.

"He has had it all his career, he has done fantastically well and hopefully we will continue to take wickets.”

Asked if Lancashire's Anderson was in a happier mood because it was his birthday, the 23-year-old Root -- who plays for arch-rivals Yorkshire -- said: "No...he’s more grumpy because he is a year older.”

Meanwhile India's Shikhar Dhawan, caught at slip off Root for 37, forecast a tough final day for the tourists on a wearing pitch.

"It's going to be hard to save the match but we'll be looking to build a good partnership tomorrow," he said.

"Ali had been bowling well and he was getting support from the wicket.

"It's been turning from the rough and the middle so it's hard to play spin at that time."

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