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How ton-up Duckett led England's strong reply

February 16, 2024 18:45 IST
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IMAGE: Ben Duckett took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners during Day 2 of the third Test in Rajkot. Photograph: BCCI

Opener Ben Duckett smashed an 88-ball hundred to lead England's robust reply to India's first innings total of 445 on day two of the third Test in Rajkot on Friday.

The opener's 133 not out off 118 balls, which contained two sixes and 21 fours, powered England to 207-2 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Ravichandran Ashwin became the second Indian bowler, after Anil Kumble, to claim 500 Test wickets but it was otherwise a day of hard toil for India as England scored nearly at a run-a-ball rate.


Joe Root was batting on nine at stumps with England trailing India by 238 in the third match of the five-Test series, which remains poised at 1-1.

IMAGE: Dhruv Jurel in action on Day 2. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Earlier, debutant Dhruv Jurel (46) and Ashwin (37) mounted a spirited rear-guard while Jasprit Bumrah (26) provided a late cameo to take India near the 450-mark.

After India resumed on 326-5, James Anderson removed Thursday's nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav, caught behind for four.

IMAGE: England's Ben Stokes reacts during fielding. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Ravindra Jadeja, who completed his fourth Test hundred on day one, looked surprisingly tentative and gave a return catch to bowler Root to depart after 112, which included two sixes and nine fours.

Ashwin and Jurel frustrated England with their 77-run partnership and survived Mark Wood's short-ball barrage with a heavily-manned leg side.

IMAGE: England's Rehan Ahmed celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Dhruv Jurel, caught out by Ben Foakes. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

England were rather sloppy on the field and Jurel was dropped twice, first by Ollie Pope at midwicket and then by England captain Ben Stokes at leg slip.

Rehan Ahmed denied Jurel a fifty in the batter's debut Test and Wood (4-114) dismissed Bumrah, who was the last Indian wicket to fall.

IMAGE: Mohammed Siraj in action. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

The tourists began their innings 5-0 after India were penalised five runs for Ashwin's run on the protected area down the middle of the pitch.

Duckett initially looked ill at ease against Mohammed Siraj's lively pace but he soon grew in confidence, which was obvious in the way he treated the Indian spinners.

He raced to a 39-ball fifty but lost opening partner Zak Crawley.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Zak Crawley. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Crawley attempted a sweep shot against Ashwin only to top-edge the ball to Rajat Patidar at short fine leg.

Ashwin became the ninth bowler, and fifth spinner, to take 500 Test wickets.

IMAGE: England's Ben Duckett celebrates after reaching his century. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Duckett deflated the Indian attack batting with the kind of aggression which has become the hallmark of the team under Stokes.

The 29-year-old brought up his third Test hundred with a four off Siraj.

Siraj lifted India's sagging morale late in the final session when he trapped Pope lbw for 39. The batter was initially adjudged not out but the decision was overturned on review.

IMAGE: England's Ollie Pope in action. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

"Five hundred wickets is done and dusted now. We've got a game hanging in the balance," Ashwin said afterwards.

"The game is going neck and neck. We'll have to bat and bowl well to stay in the game."

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