Ashwin completes 500 Test wickets as England takes control at the end of Day 2 of the 3rd Test

unnamed   2024 02 21T103112.136
Ravichandran Ashwin reached the milestone of 500 Test wickets

India posted a total of 445 runs on the scoreboard by adding 119 runs to the overnight score of 326/5 before England took control and scored 207 runs for the loss of two wickets on Day 2 of the Rajkot Test.

Nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav was the first casualty of the day as James Anderson had him caught behind and Ravindra Jadeja was caught & bowled by Joe Root in the next over as he also failed to add much to his overnight score ending his innings with 112 runs off 225 balls with 9 boundaries and 2 maximums at his home ground.

Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Dhruv Jurel had to ensure the hosts posted a respectable total on the scoreboard. In the 102nd over, Ashwin raced down the track but was returned by Jurel as a single wasn’t viable but umpire Wilson awarded 5 penalty runs to England as the Indian batters made it a habit of running in the middle of the pitch during the first innings.

Ashwin and Jurel brought up their half-century partnership in the 111th over with Ashwin smacking four beautiful boundaries while the wicket-keeper batter scored a four and a six, a ramp shot that flew over everybody, straight into the stands in the process.

India took lunch on Day 2 at a score of 388/7 with Jurel batting on a score of 31 runs off 71 balls while Ashwin accumulated 25 runs off 64 balls before the break.

Trying to up the ante at the start of the second session, Jurel almost gave away his wicket twice as Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes dropped two catches within the space of three overs off the bowling of Tom Hartley and Mark Wood respectively.

On the last ball of the 120th over, Ashwin tried to step out and clear Anderson fielding at mid-on and the veteran also fumbled the ball but pouched it at the second attempt unlike Pope and Stokes to award Rehan Ahmed his first wicket of the match.

Dhruv Jurel scored 46 runs before his dismissal on Test debut

The wicket-keeper batter then decided to punish the English bowlers with two huge maximums off Ahmed’s bowling before the wrist-spinner produced an edge from Jurel’s blade and Ben Foakes completed another catch safely behind the stumps.

The tail kept wagging as Jasprit Bumrah smacked a maximum against Hartley in the 127th over followed by two boundaries against Ahmed in the 128th over. Bumrah has taken a liking to score runs against England and he continued the job against Wood as he got another four on the first ball of the 131st over. 

Later in the same over, Wood trapped Bumrah LBW to close out the Indian innings on a total score of 445 runs while the Indian vice-captain scored 26 runs off 28 balls before racing back to the pavilion.

Bumrah started the English innings with a no-ball and the visitors had 6/0 on the board without a ball bowled in the innings. The opening pair of Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett helped England race to a score of 31/0 by the end of the sixth over when Tea was taken.

In the third session, Duckett completely dominated the Indian bowlers as he brought up the half-century partnership with a boundary off Kuldeep in the 9th over. In the next over, Duckett scored three fours against Mohammed Siraj’s bowling and also reached the 50-run mark, his first fifty in India and that too, off just 39 balls.

Duckett continued to attack Kuldeep as the wrist-spinner conceded 34 runs off his first four overs with the visitors reaching a score of 89/0 at the end of the 13th over. On the first ball of the 14th over, Ashwin took his 500th Test wicket as Crawley tried to slog sweep but could only find Rajat Patidar at short fine leg.

After Crawley’s wicket, Ollie Pope was tentative in playing shots from the first ball but a maximum off Kuldeep in the 17th over brought the match back to life and Duckett started scoring briskly again as he scored 13 runs off the last three balls of the 22nd over bowled by Ashwin, entering the nervous nineties inside 75 balls.

After the last drinks break of the day, skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Jadeja into the attack. Duckett and Pope brought up the 50-run partnership in the next over before the southpaw reached the three-figure mark with a beautiful straight drive that raced to the fence. Moreover, it was the fastest-ever Test century by an English batter against India with Duckett reaching the milestone within 88 balls. 

When it looked like that the duo would stitch together a 100-run partnership, Mohammed Siraj’s ploy of bowling a good-length ball after a barrage of short balls trapped Pope in front of the wicket. The umpire deemed it not out but the three reds on the DRS sent the English vice-captain back to the pavilion.

In the last over of the day, Ashwin almost got Duckett out but a DRS call was wasted by Rohit as the ball pitched outside the leg stump before wrapping his pads. At stumps, England was 207/2 with Duckett unbeaten at a score of 133 runs off 118 balls while Root had accumulated 9 runs off 13 balls.