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PIX: Jurel, Ashwin, Kuldeep put India on course for win

Last updated on: February 25, 2024 17:53 IST

Images from Day 3 of the fourth Test between India and England in Ranchi on Sunday, February 25.

IMAGE: Ashwin picked up his 35th five-for in Test cricket. Photograph: BCCI

Dhruv Jurel's defensive chef-d'oeuvre found a perfect match in the destructive symphony of spin by fifer-man Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav as India seized decisive control of the fourth Test against England at the end of a dramatic third day in Ranchi on Sunday.

India walked off at the stumps, having chiselled off 40 runs from the 192-run target without losing a wicket.


Rohit Sharma (24 batting) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (16 batting) would be confident of the team mustering the remaining 152 runs without much theatre.

IMAGE: Dhruv Jurel powered India to 307 in the ongoing fourth Test in Ranchi. Photograph: BCCI

However, it was Jurel who started India's resistive movement with a defiant 90 that came in 149 balls and 211 minutes. It carried the hosts to 307 in their first innings from the overnight 219 for seven.

In their second essay, England just did not have any answers to the questions posed by Ashwin (5/51), his 35th five-wicket haul in Tests, and Kuldeep Yadav (4/22), getting bowled out for a meagre 145.

Opener Zak Crawley (60) was the lone post of fight.

IMAGE: Zak Crawley on the attack. Photograph: BCCI

It would have been worse for England without that Crawley fifty before his innings was halted by Kuldeep.

Ravindra Jadeja bagged a solitary wicket but it was the key wicket of Jonny Bairstow.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a wicket. Photograph: BCCI

In fact, Crawley was the only English batter to go past 30 as they lost their last seven wickets for just 35 runs with Ashwin and Jadeja weaving their magic.

Introduced late, the left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep struck in his third over when he cleaned up Crawley with a gem of a delivery that skidded through, unsettling the middle-stump.

IMAGE: Zak Crawley is bowled by Kuldeep Yadav. Photograph: BCCI

Crawley was looking in an ominous mood and tore into the Indian attack against the run of play to stretch their overall lead past 150 as Rohit persisted with Ashwin and Jadeja in the second session.

But Kuldeep breathed fire into the attack as he got drift and was at his deceptive best.

IMAGE: Ben Stokes is bowled by Kuldeep Yadav. Photograph: BCCI

Having survived through an umpire's call, England skipper Ben Stokes was castled by Kuldeep with the ball staying low.

Bairstow looked in firm control in his 42-ball 30 (3x4) but fell in the first ball after tea when Jadeja exploited the cracks on the pitch to turn it away and the batter drove it straight to short cover.

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: BCCI

Kuldeep then dismissed Tom Hartley and Ollie Robinson in four balls, before Ashwin raced to his fifth wicket as stumper Dhruv Jurel took a brilliant reflex catch to oust James Anderson.

In the process, Ashwin also became the highest wicket-taker at home for India. He now has 354 wickets from 59 Tests at home, overtaking Anil Kumble's tally of 350 from 63 matches.

IMAGE: Dhruv Jurel in action on Day 3. Photograph: BCCI

'Jurel' in the crown

But Jurel's innings might just have ended India's search for a wicketkeeper batter in Tests in the absence of recuperating Rishabh Pant.

The 23-year-old from Agra was not only terrific with his glovesmanship but exhibited oodles of maturity during that determined fifty as India mounted an incredible fightback, trimming England's first-innings lead to a mere 46 runs.

IMAGE: Dhruv Jurel and Kuldeep Yadav during their eighth wicket partnership. Photograph: BCCI

After reaching his maiden fifty in 96 balls, the Rajasthan Royals' wicketkeeper-batsman shifted gears, taking on English spinners Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley.

Jurel hurried for a single off Hartley to bring up his fifty in an entertaining 40-run stand off just 75 balls for the ninth wicket with Akash Deep (9).

But Hartley denied him a hundred with a quicker delivery that stayed low.

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav bats on Day 3. Photograph: BCCI

Young England off-spinner Bashir completed his maiden Test five-wicket haul, trapping Akash to finish with figures of 5 for 119 in only his second Test.

Jurel and Kuldeep's 76-run partnership for the eighth wicket also rescued India from a precarious position when they were reduced to 177 for seven on the second day.

Under overcast conditions in the morning session, the overnight duo of Jurel and Kuldeep faced a 134-run deficit.

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav is bowled by James Anderson. Photograph: BCCI

Kuldeep showcased superb application on a pitch with variable bounce, playing 131 balls with immaculate defence and effective strike rotation.

Kuldeep's determined innings ended when an Anderson delivery that stayed low took a bottom edge and disturbed the timber.

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