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PIX: Ashwin takes 500 but Duckett steals the show

Last updated on: February 17, 2024 01:55 IST

Images from Day 2 of the third Test between India and England at the Niranjan Shah Stadium in Rajkot on Friday.

IMAGE: Ben Duckett celebrates after completing his century on Day 2 of the third Test against India on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Ben Duckett's power-packed hundred overshadowed Ravichandran Ashwin's monumental feat as England thrived on their belligerent Bazball tactics to storm to 207/2 at stumps on Day 2 of the third Test against India in Rajkot on Friday.


Ashwin dismissed Zak Crawley (15) in the final session to join Anil Kumble as the second Indian, and the ninth overall, to take 500 wickets in Test history.

But India's struggles to contain England's fearless and enterprising batters persisted as Duckett raced to his third Test hundred off only 88 balls.

IMAGE: Mohammed Siraj celebrates the wicket of Ollie Pope with his team-mates. Photograph: BCCI

England have already wiped off a chunk of their first innings deficit and trail India by 238 runs going into day three. India ended up with 445 in their first innings.     

At one stage, Duckett even flirted briefly with the prospect of breaking Gilbert Jessop's record from 1902 for fastest Test ton (77 balls) for England.

Duckett peppered the field with powerful strokes all around the ground, hitting 21 fours and two sixes to reach 133 not out from only 118 balls. Joe Root was at the other end on nine.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates after dismissing Zak Crawley to complete 500 Test wickets. Photograph: BCCI

Ashwin struck immediately after his introduction into the attack to send Crawley packing, with the batter gift-wrapping his wicket to help the Indian spinner complete his milestone.

Crawley top-edged the sweep and was caught at short fine leg for 15 but not before the two openers had put on 89 runs from 13.1 overs.

It turned out to be a memorable day for Ashwin, who became only the second Indian bowler to complete the landmark of 500 wickets in Test cricket when he dismissed Zak Crawley in the post-tea session.

Overall, Ashwin is the ninth bowler and the fifth spinner to complete the feat in Tests. Anil Kumble was the first Indian bowler to take 500 wickets, having taken 619 wickets in 132 Tests.

IMAGE: Ben Duckett plays the sweep shot during Day 2 of the third Test against India. Photograph: BCCI

The diminutive England opener Duckett, who looked a tad tentative outside the off-stump before the tea break, came out all guns blazing to bring up his first fifty of the series, in just 39 balls with 11 hits to the fence.

The introduction of spin did slow down Duckett's pace for a short while, but he hit the top gear quickly to keep the Indian bowlers under pressure.

A pivotal moment came in the 21st over from Bumrah in his second spell with the Indian spearhead nailing a perfect yorker.

With his front foot out of the way, it appeared on the first instance that the ball crashed into the wickets. However, umpire Kumar Dharmasena was not as convinced before the India pacer got his captain to take the review. However, a slight bottom edge came to the England opener's rescue.

India took the second DRS against Ollie Pope when Mohammed Siraj, deployed on short-ball tactics, pitched a fuller one to hit the pads.

Umpire Joel Wilson was unmoved but the decision was overturned with the replays confirming that the ball was hitting the leg stump, as Pope walked back after scoring 39.

IMAGE: India's No 10 Jasprit Bumrah hits out. Photograph: BCCI

Earlier, India's lower order came up with vital contributions to guide their team to 445 in their first innings.

Dhruv Jurel fell narrowly short of a half-century on debut when he was, caught behind by Ben Foakes off Ahmed for 46.

Jurel partnered with Ashwin (39) to add 77 runs for the eighth wicket which pushed India past the 400-run mark while also steadying the ship after centurion Ravindra Jadeja (112) and Kuldeep Yadav (4) fell early.

Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj had spent close to half an hour putting on vital 30 runs for the last wicket, with the former scoring 28 of them.

IMAGE: Rehan Ahmed celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin. Photograph: BCCI

Jurel got a couple of lifelines. Ollie Pope spilled a regulation chance off Tom Hartley (1/109) at midwicket when Jurel hit straight to him and soon after, Ben Stokes spilled one at leg slip off Mark Wood. He was on 32 on both the occasions.

But before they were separated, Ashwin and Jurel did a fine job of putting on 77 runs for the eighth wicket which took India past the 400-run mark.

Bumrah was the aggressor in his rapid 28-ball 26 which featured some lusty blows for three fours and a six.

Siraj, who played second fiddle, appeared to be struggling with a knee-related trouble but felt no discomfort when he came on to bowl.

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

Ashwin and Jurel had led a resolute response after early blows in an tough morning session to take India to 388/7 at lunch.

On a docile pitch which has not favoured any style of bowling yet, India's approach remained largely conservative which was also influenced to some extent by twin blows shortly after the play began.

Resuming at 326/5, India took their time in adding another 62 runs in 26 overs in the morning session.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin bats. Photograph: BCCI

Overnight centurion Ravindra Jadeja (112 from) could not add much to his kitty and walked back after miscuing a simple return catch back to England part-time spinner Joe Root.

The face of Jadeja's bat turned inwards towards his pads as he looked to play the ball on the on-side, resulting in Root grabbing a sharp catch over his shoulders.

Jadeja's dismissal did peg back India right after the play began as he joined nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav (4) in the dressing room soon after the latter's dismissal, off James Anderson.

The 41-year-old seamer is now merely four wickets away from completing a record 700 wickets -- the most for any fast bowler in the history of the sport.

IMAGE: Dhruv Jurel plays the ramp shot off fast bowler Mark Wood. Photograph: BCCI

For Jadeja, this is now his second highest score in Test cricket and also the second longest innings in the format in terms of balls faced.

The double blows at the identical team score of 331 forced new batters Ashwin and Jurel to drop anchor and build a partnership, since it is paramount for India to add as many runs as possible in the first essay on a benign track at the Niranjan Shah Stadium.

Ashwin looked busier than his younger teammate and hit a few crisp drives to get going, but an error from his part resulted in on-field umpire Joe Wilson slapping a five-run penalty on the Indian team as the senior spinner was penalised for running on the danger area of the pitch.

IMAGE: England's players celebrate after James Anderson got the wicket of Kuldeep Yadav. Photograph: BCCI

England's first innings will thus start at 5/0 without a ball being bowled. The first such warning was given on the opening day, when Jadeja committed the same offence.

Jurel did a fine job in his maiden outing which began with a few dot balls and a single to get his first Test runs, while his first-ever boundary in international cricket showed promise of a fine aggressive batter.

Wood tried a short ball to debutant Jurel but the 23-year-old played an incredible ramp shot off a 146 kmph bouncer, guiding the ball over the wicketkeeper for his first six in top-flight cricket.

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