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IND vs ENG 3rd Test: Duckett shines for England despite early wickets loss on Day 2

Updated on: 17 February,2024 07:45 AM IST  |  Rajkot
Santosh Suri |

England tick all the boxes with their Bazball strategy on Day 2 as opener Ben scores an unbeaten 133 after India are bowled out for 445; R Ashwin gets his 500th scalp, but visitors comfortably placed on 207-2 at stumps

 IND vs ENG 3rd Test: Duckett shines for England despite early wickets loss on Day 2

England’s Ben Duckett celebrates his century on Day Two of the third Test against India in Rajkot yesterday. Pic/AFP

The England team once again showed that they’re not going to be cowed down, whatever the situation or conditions. After India had ground their bowling to notch up 445, the visitors, led by a hurricane hundred by opener Ben Duckett, responded strongly on Day Two of the third Test on Friday. They are already 207 for the loss of two wickets in just 35 overs and with Duckett batting solidly on 133 and Joe Root looking determined they will look to build a formidable total.

Tough day for India bowlers

Though the Indian bowlers toiled and met with limited success, the day will be remembered for Ashwin claiming his 500th Test wicket in his 98th Test, when he had Zak Crawley caught off a sweep. He is only the second Indian after Anil Kumble (619 in 132 matches) and the ninth bowler in Test history to achieve the milestone.

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On his memorable day, there was also an unsavoury incident involving Ashwin. It happened in the 102nd over of the Indian innings when Ashwin pushed leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed and set off for a run only to be sent back by Dhruv Jurel. As he returned back to his crease right in the middle of the pitch, he was apparently guilty of breaching the ‘protected area’ of the wicket and was pulled up by umpire Joel Wilson. Despite trying to make his case, the umpire didn’t budge and signalled a five-run penalty against India.

Ashwin may have tried gamesmanship to disturb the pitch, but that did not afford much help to the Indian bowlers, as the England batters played fluently, using unorthodox methods like the reverse sweep, slogs to mid-wicket and even an odd paddle sweep to frustrate the bowlers. Southpaw Duckett led the charge as he notched up his third Test century in only 89 balls, leaving the Indian spinners clueless.

India captain Rohit Sharma changed the bowlers regularly, giving them short stints and even placing the fielders strategically, but it did not work. Neither did it fetch wickets, nor did it stem the flow of runs. It was only at the fag-end of the day that Jasprit Bumrah got some reverse swing and troubled the batters with his pin-point yorkers.

Visitors can make headway

With the pitch expected to be at its best on Day Three, England can hope to make much headway. It will, thus, require Bumrah & Co to be relentless and persevering if they hope to wrap up the England innings at the earliest. Like the first day, things began well for the England bowlers on the second day too as they packed off overnight batters, centurion Ravindra Jadeja and nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav.

It seemed, they would not allow the home team to add many more, but debutant Jurel and Ashwin batted with determination to stitch together a valuable partnership of 77 to bolster the total. Jurel compiled a confident 46 (off 104 balls with two fours and three sixes) before he fell LBW to Ahmed. However, he has shown enough mettle to go on and be an accomplished wicketkeeper-batsman for Team India.

Brief scores
India 445 all out (R Sharma 131, R Jadeja 112, S Khan 62, D Jurel 46; M Wood 4-114, R Ahmed 2-85) v England 207-2 (B Duckett 133*, O Pope 39)

No of fours hit by Ben Duckett during his 133 not out on Friday

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