Duckett leads England’s counter; Ashwin takes 500th Test wicket

SUMMARY: India 445 all out from 130.5 overs (Rohit Sharma 131, Ravindra Jadeja 112, Sarfaraz Khan 62; Mark Wood 4-114) vs England 207-2 from 35 overs (Ben Duckett 133*, Ollie Pope 39; Ravichandran Ashwin 1-37, Mohammed Siraj 1-54)


Ben Duckett’s scintillating century led a breathtaking England counter-attack on the second day of the third Test against India in Rajkot.

The opener crashed his third Test hundred from only 88 balls in a swashbuckling assault on the India bowling in the evening sun.

Duckett added 84 from 80 balls with Zak Crawley for the first wicket then another 93 off 102 with Ollie Pope.

He was unbeaten on 133 from 118 balls at the close, with 21 fours and two sixes. Duckett had taken England to 207-2 from only 35 overs, 238 behind India’s 445.

England started the day by removing nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, finally out for 112, inside the first five overs, but were then frustrated by a partnership of 79 between debutant Dhruv Jurel and Ravichandran Ashwin.

It was the beginning of an eventful day for Ashwin, who was the culprit when India were penalised five runs for running on the pitch and then removed Crawley to become the ninth bowler to reach 500 Test wickets.

Even after getting through Ashwin and Jurel, England were frustrated by a last-wicket stand of 30 between Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj.

Then came the Duckett pyrotechnics, another thrilling chapter in a superb series tantalisingly poised at 1-1.

England Bazball when they need it most

Realistically, England were staring down the barrel of the match and possibly the series at the end of India’s innings. Never before have India been beaten when making so many runs in the first innings of a home Test.

England missed chances on day one and were unusually passive on day two. They removed Kuldeep and Jadeja in quick succession, then later would do the same to Ashwin and Jurel, but in between they dropped Jurel twice, were oddly defensive with their fields and seemed devoid of wicket-taking ideas.

The tourists also showed signs of tetchiness sparked by India’s running on the pitch. Joe Root even got frustrated with the Spidercam.

There was nothing defensive about the way England got themselves back into the match, with Duckett tapping into the freewheeling spirit of the early days of the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum era. Bar the one-off Test against Ireland, this was England’s fastest run-rate for more than a year.

India were stunned, completely powerless to contain Duckett, who made a huge dent in the deficit in little more than a session of play.

England still have plenty more to do. On a pitch that promises to deteriorate, batting last will be a huge challenge. A first-innings lead would be incredibly valuable. (BBC Sport)

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